Forgiveness

It’s my last day in beautiful Hawaii…I’m so thankful for the time and space this trip has given me to reflect, connect with my husband and explore this part of the world. Just before we start to pack up and decide what we’re going to do in our final hours on the island, I want to spend a few minutes exploring with you a thought about forgiveness from Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong

I know you’re probably sick to death of hearing me talk about her book, what with this being the 5th or so post about it but reflecting on her words with you, dear friend, is how I’m able to move the learning from my head to my heart and integrate all the wisdom into my life. So I hope you’ll bear with me. Here’s what she said:

“In order for forgiveness to happen, something has to die. If you make the choice to forgive, you have to face into the pain. You simply have to hurt.”

These words hit me so deeply because of a recent conversation I had with my husband on the night of our second wedding anniversary. We both shared one thing that we’d like the other person to work on, something that impacts our relationship.

I shared with Gregg that it hurts me when he calls me ’emotional’ as I feel that it’s a negative judgement about the feelings that I experience. I said it was fine for him to describe me as ‘complex’ or even ‘complicated’ because I know that I’m both those things, but I think that my emotions are a positive thing and I don’t want them used in a put-down. And to his credit, he hasn’t used this word since.

He then had his chance to share his desire for me and said that he’d like me to forgive him more quickly and not freeze him out when I’m angry. This was not really a surprise, I know I struggle with forgiveness, as described in a fairly recent post about being an Ice Queen.

I don’t want to go all cold and freeze him out, but I was unsure how I could change as it’s how I’ve been for most of my life. When  I experience difficult emotions – anger, conflict, disagreement – my go-to pattern is to lock down my feelings, which results in me distancing myself emotionally and can be experienced as a frosty, brittle anger which makes forgiveness so tricky.

And so Brené’s words about forgiveness are a revelation to me in considering how I might become quicker to forgive…it seems that the missing piece in my puzzle is to allow myself to feel the anger, pain and hurt that comes from being in conflict.

Gah, the truth is that this is such a scary prospect and I see that I have coped in the past by putting my feelings on lock-down and shutting myself down.

It’s so scary to face into the possibility of hurt, to let myself feel pain, to not numb out the feeling and instead let myself fully experience the conflict, each moment of anger, the pain.

But I can’t help but feel that Brené’s words are the key to being able to forgive, the key to living a more wholehearted life.

So I’m going to take these thoughts and share them with my life coach and work through, with her help, what this different path could look like for me.

I know this exploration and journey will take courage, grit and determination…but I can’t help but feel that this is the right path on my journey to a life of greater courage, truth and love.

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The reason is valid…

Some of you may be aware that when I was younger, and until my mid twenties, I battled with eating disorders. Anorexia, then bulimia (although my way of purging wasn’t through throwing up – I’d manically exercise to purge myself from the compulsive overeating). Although my life is a lot more balanced, I still struggle with eating issues from time to time, through comfort eating.

I get so frustrated when these occasions of comfort eating take place because it’s an insane loop I go through of eating healthily most of the day and then turning to food out of boredom, sadness, self-judgement, loneliness, to push down guilt. Whatever it is, I get stuck in this cycle (and have written about it before) until finally something throws me out of this loop and I find different ways for a while to cope with these emotions for a while.

The thing I’ve come to realise is, whilst my eating might not be 100% ‘normal’, the reason I comfort eat is valid. My experience is my experience – there’s no bar to reach of validity and no comparison for what I should or should not feel.

And while this doesn’t deal with the eating, it makes me pay attention to what is really, truly important – my emotions and my experience. The boredom, sadness, self-judgement, loneliness, guilt…a rainbow of emotions I’m pushing down that just needs to be expressed.

And that’s what’s really important.

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Transformation

I want to share with you another beautiful nugget of wisdom from episode 100 of the RobCast.

It feels strange to get so much from this podcast as I came at it with deep feelings of mistrust.

You see, Rob is a Christian minister and I’ve had walls up about faith in general, but especially Christianity, since I took the decision to step away from my Christian upbringing. However, the truth is that Rob surprised me and I’m still part-reeling from the learning this episode brought to my life. I feel what he said has the power to bring about real transformation…and that’s the topic I want to share with you today, dear friend.

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Forgiveness – my recent experience

I’m now on my 47th day of being comfort eating free, which is an amazing achievement for me. It’s truly wonderful to know that I’m able to feel so much freedom on days when it comes easily – having more focus and space for other things in my life.

It’s also so good, however difficult, to confront my demons on days where all I want to do is eat to bury the pain I feel. It’s on these dark days that I experience exponential growth, confronting the pain and making leaps and bounds forward in this new life of courage, truth and love.  Continue reading