Forgiveness is a loaded word. It can be full of emotion, blame and memories. When we try to apply it to ourselves it can become an impossible thing to do, especially when we don’t like our self very much. To forgive yourself completely means kindness and understanding. Forgive that you yo-yo dieted, forgive that you binged, that you overate, forgive that you hurt your body and didn’t appreciate it. Forgive that you were unkind to yourself, that you said cruel things to yourself. Forgive yourself for being human and making mistakes and then do this every day for the rest of your life. None of these things are crimes, no one died because you overate. We are the ones that create catastrophes in our own minds out of normal life. Forgiving just means you are not so hard on yourself when you mess up. It means things that used to play on your mind now drift away. You are human, now it’s time to work with that.
Like regret and guilt, forgiveness is all about the past. Not forgiving yourself drags you back there. Instead of seeing forgiveness as a kind thing to do for past actions, see it as the best thing you can do for your future. Forgiving means releasing the old you so that you can choose to be different. To create the self-focused, fearless, slim, happy person you are going to be, you need to stop thinking about who you were.
When you have some time today, take a piece of paper and write down the worst things that you have ever said to yourself. Be honest, don’t dwell on them as you write, get them out of your head and onto the paper. Next, write down all the physical abuse you have put your body through. This includes starvation diets, fad diets, doing the wrong exercise, eating until you couldn’t move and anything else you may have done in the past. Now, read that list again and ask yourself these questions:
If your sibling/mother/daughter/friend told you they had done this to themselves, what would be your reaction?
How many of the things on your list would you say/do to someone else?
Look at this list as if it were written by someone you love; what would you want to say to them, what would you want to do for them?
Look at the list for what it is – a cry for help – and forgive yourself for all of it. Forgive and promise to cherish your body; forgive and promise to know yourself; forgive and promise to always forgive.
Extract from “Still Overweight? The 6-week course that changes your weight and relationship to food forever”