Since several of my blog posts touch on the theme of “freedom” from one’s eating concerns and body image issues, I thought I would write a post about the freedom that can come from forgiving someone. First, I have to admit that forgiveness isn’t always easy for me. Sure, I can forgive someone if they give me a genuine apology. And even if they don’t apologize, I can often understand that person’s own pain and can see how they may have hurt me unintentionally. What I find very difficult to forgive are actions that go unexplained and for which there’s no apology.
Many years ago, I had a what I thought was a very good friend. We stayed in touch for about a year after we went to different geographical locations and then suddenly, without any explanation, my good friend stopped returning my calls. I got no responses to my letters. Christmas and birthday cards went seemingly unappreciated. I kept tabs on this person through the internet (okay, I “cyber stalked” them), mostly because I couldn’t understand this behavior. I wanted an explanation. I wanted to know what I had done wrong. Or worse, what was wrong with my good friend? Were they injured? Deceased? Psychologically harmed? I felt that I deserved to know what happened and whether there was something I could have done differently to prevent the distance that grew between us. I found out through some other mutual friends that this person no longer talks to any of us, so I have some peace that “it’s not me”. However, I still don’t have a full explanation. And I don’t have an apology.
Somehow, though, I know I have to forgive this person and move on. Just as each of us has the freedom to choose whether or not we will use food to cope with our problems, we have the freedom to choose whether or not we allow someone who has hurt us to continue to have power over us. Choosing to forgive my friend means I let myself off the hook–no more self-blame. It means I throw my hands in the air and say, “I don’t have the answers this time and that’s okay.” It means I don’t have to allow thoughts of that person to cloud my view or darken my day. It means I can look back on the good times we had without regret and know that if, for whatever reason, that person chooses to come back into my life again someday, forgiveness is theirs. Forgiveness becomes just one more tool in my “recovery toolbox”.
Who do you find it difficult to forgive today? How can free yourself from the power and control that the unforgivable person has over you? What doors might be opened to you if you do choose to forgive without an apology, without an explanation?
Peace, joy, and health.