To forgive and to let go can be one of the most freeing forms of self-care and a real demonstration of self-compassion and self-love.
Yet we know how hard it can be to forgive. Especially when it feels that past experiences, people or even ourselves have let us down. Here are some thoughts to help guide you to a place of forgiveness in your eating disorder recovery…
What is forgiveness?
F o r g i v e n e s s. A word and an act that can feel like a weight being lifted off our shoulders, freeing ourselves from a heaviness, and settling into a peaceful acceptance.
There may come a point in time in our recoveries when we ask ourself, “Am I hurting more by not forgiving?” Sometimes the hurdle that’s in front of us can be overcome by the act of letting something go.
Coming to a place of forgiveness in recovery requires patience and time for reflection. It is not an overnight feat. Like other forms of self-work such as mindfulness in recovery, forgiveness is something that needs to be practiced and trusted, and in the process, nurtured.
We share our reminders for you below.
It’s okay to feel regret. But remember to forgive.
Feelings of guilt are familiar to the journey of eating disorder recovery – for both the individual themselves and for those caring for someone.
Often, people feel some element of responsibility for the place that they’re in, regardless of whether there’s an understanding of what may have led them down this path.
Whilst it is true that recovery is a ‘choice’, it is important to acknowledge the pressure that we put on ourselves to “get better”, and ask whether the weight of this pressure is helping or hindering our progress.
Accept the process of change.
When we’re in this space of thinking “What if?”, it’s important to honour the process of change.
Whilst we may feel pressure and urgency to be fully “recovered”, we must accept that the journey will unfold in it’s own time, but in the meantime, we can reinforce our progress by honouring the incremental changes we see along the way.
Change also provides us with space to experiment. We often refer to recovery as a process of rediscovery and creativity; rediscovering the you underneath the eating disorder, and creating a life and identity for yourself that’s independent from the illness.
Stumbling is normal.
Recovery isn’t a linear process; there will be ups and downs as normal life challenges arise and we take steps to overcome and build resilience against them for the future. Consider it a “lapse” rather than a “relapse”.
Therapy is a safe space that we use to reflect on our past experiences and actions. Whilst this is a significant part of healing, it’s important to maintain a compassionate and forgiving mindset to these memories.
Everyone is on their own, unique journey and has done their best to cope with overwhelming feelings and situations.
Take a moment to forgive yourself for the ups and downs of your process and know that each step (backwards or forwards) is an opportunity for growth.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”