Today we’re talking all about the power of forgiveness. This one is HUGE and has played such a vital role in my healing.
My good friend and functional medicine practitioner wrote a post that really stuck with me. She said that in her practice, sometimes she finds that the root cause of disease is hiding in the inability to forgive.
I know that this can sound wild to some, but from my own experience, nothing could be closer to the truth.
After my last surgery in 2011, I spent a lot of time sitting with anger and resentment. I was angry with my doctors, because I wasn’t healing like they thought that I would, and I felt as if they were beginning to give up on me. I was angry with friends and family who didn’t meet my expectations to show up in the way that I thought that they should. I was angry with those who I thought were friends, who didn’t show up at all.
If you’ve ever been filled with anger or resentment, you know that it’s a miserable place to be.
Feeling so alone left me incredibly angry for so long. Back then, I hated the fact that I had Crohn’s Disease, and I was so angry with those that I felt didn’t live up to my expectations. My thoughts started to consume me, and undoubtedly kept me sick. These thoughts were an inner stress that I carried around until I finally realized what they were actually doing to me. My anger was only affecting me, and no one else. My feelings didn’t change anything about the past, they only kept me from living the life that I truly wanted.
It took me years to realize that blaming everyone else and holding bitterness in my heart was only keeping me sick, and that blaming would get me nowhere. I also came to realize that in order to move past this, I needed to own my part in all of it as well.
As I’ve come to understand, people will always be who I need them to be, not who I want them to be. If everyone had shown up for me in the way that I wanted them to, I simply wouldn’t be the woman that I am today.
The problem lies in the fact that I’ve always had expectations of others, and those expectations were often let down. But here’s the thing, no one could read my mind. No one knew what I wanted, because I never spoke up or asked for anything.
In order to truly heal, I first had to learn to forgive.
It took me years to be able to look back on this time to realize that being (what felt like) alone during such a difficult experience was exactly what my husband and I both needed. It forced me to grow and to learn to stand up for myself, more than anything else ever could. Had everyone been waiting on my every last wish, I simply would not be the woman I am today. I also wouldn’t have this lesson to share with you. I now have so much gratitude for those that I was once so angry with.
Learning to love this disease for all that it has taught me, and learning to love each person whom I ever felt had done me wrong has improved my health in so many ways. It is why I am healthy today. I made a conscious decision that I would no longer let my past affect my present, or my future. I would no longer let it hold me back, and instead, I would use this to dive me forward. Over time, I’ve consciously let go of every negative feeling that I held onto. I have no sadness and no anger left from any of the challenges in my life, and it has completely set me free.
All it took was a simple shift in my mindset.
When you take a step back and realize that pain and suffering can be your greatest teachers, it can change the way you view your entire life. Instead of asking “why me,” you can learn to appreciate the difficult times, because they will not last forever. These times can help you to grow, and to become a better and more compassionate version of yourself.
We’re often taught to believe that forgiveness takes time, but I don’t believe that always has to be the case. You can decide right now, at this very moment, to forgive your past, others, and most importantly, yourself. You can decide right now to move forward and recognize that your struggles have helped to make you into who you are, and that they can no longer stop you from becoming who you want to be. It can really be as simple as a shift in your perspective.
I know that it doesn’t always feel easy at first, but when you realize that holding onto anger is only hurting you, it’s worth also being willing to do the work to let go. Forgiveness is for you, not for them.
While I don’t know your unique situation, I do know that forgiveness has the power to set you free.
For more on what I’ve done to heal myself, be sure to check out my posts HERE.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below:
- Is forgiveness something that you have ever struggled with?
- Is it easy or hard for you to let go of the past?
- Do you believe that negative thoughts can contribute to illness?