Done with Dieting Episode #65: Forgiveness

forgiveness

What does it mean to forgive someone?

Forgiveness – we know its good for us, but sometimes we just can’t take that step. It feels like a betrayal. 

And what makes it difficult is that other people who are tangentially involved will urge us to forgive so that we can all ‘just go back to normal’. But when we really feel wronged, how CAN things ever go back to normal? What does that even mean?

In this episode of the Done with Dieting Podcast, we’re going to reframe how you think about forgiveness. What’s the process, and how you can do it from a space that makes it NOT feel like you’re betraying yourself, and validating the other person’s actions.

We will also be diving into how to forgive yourself and your body following the same protocol.

Tune in to episode 65 on forgiveness to learn how to reframe forgiveness so that you can learn to let go of those relationships that cause you unrest.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my six-month group coaching program! The Feel Good Sisterhood is going to be open for enrollment in October for a limited time, so click here to get on the waitlist.

For even more resources on becoming healthier, get my free download: 8 Basic Habits that Healthy People Do. If you do these 8 things on a consistent basis, you will be healthier than most people you know, and your body will right-size!

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What you’ll Learn from this Episode

  • What forgiveness is really about and why you want to do it more often.
  • The stages of forgiveness that you’ll go through.
  • Why you might want to do this work on yourself

Listen to the Full Episode:


Full Episode Transcript:

On today’s episode of the done with dieting podcast, I am talking about forgiveness. And I’ll let you know; this is a pretty vulnerable episode for me because I’m talking about the steps that I took when I went through a breakup with a girlfriend of mine. And how I was able to let it go. And then, how I was able to forgive and what forgiveness means to me.

So, I hope you enjoy it and let’s get started.

You are listening to the done with dieting podcast. The podcast for women in midlife, who are done with dieting, but still want to lose weight and feel good in your clothes. You know that diets don’t work long term. But you feel like there’s this secret that everyone else knows that you just haven’t figured it out yet.

I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman. And I’ve helped hundreds of women get off the diet roller coaster change their relationship with food, exercise, and their bodies. Through this podcast, my goal is to help you too.

Welcome. Let’s get started.

Hello everybody, and welcome to episode number 65 of the done with dieting podcast. Today, what we’re going to be talking about is forgiveness. And in the last podcast episode, when I interviewed Xena Jones, I hinted at the fact that I had this podcast in my pocket and I wasn’t ready to share with anyone.

Because I think that forgiveness is actually a really sensitive topic. And to be honest, I have a story for you that is actually very personal, and it feels very revealing. And so, I really needed to make sure that I was clean in how I looked at the situation before I presented it to you. Because there’s nothing worse than logging on to a podcast and hearing someone just rant and rave, fill your heads with all sorts of negative emotion. And that you’re like, ew, that just doesn’t feel right.

So, what we’re talking about today is forgiveness. And when we talk about forgiveness, we’re talking about forgiveness in two different aspects. Normally, when we think about forgiveness, we think about the situation where someone has hurt us.

They’ve wronged us or they’ve done something bad to us, we feel victimized by it. And we’re struggling with whether we should forgive this person or not. I want to talk little bit about traditionally, we think of forgiveness as being, what it really truly is and all of the myths that go along with forgiveness. That’s what we typically talk about when we’re talking about forgiveness.

But I also want to talk about forgiveness in terms of forgiving ourselves. Because I believe that we hold ourselves to a totally different standard than we hold other people. And so, I love the idea of having compassion for ourselves. And also, just thinking about our behavior through the lens of would I be judging myself, if someone else were to do the same behavior?

And if we wouldn’t, then of course we deserve first of all, to drop the judgment, but then second of all, to forgive ourselves. Forgiveness is something that I talk a lot about with my clients, the women in the Feel Good Sisterhood, as well as my private clients.

I find that I had to go through a lot of forgiveness work when it came to my body. And I also continually do forgiveness work because I feel like my body needs to forgive me. I need to ask for forgiveness to my body because I’ve done a lot of, I don’t want to say terrible things, but I’ve done a lot of things that I now expect her to deal with.

And when she doesn’t deal with them, the way that I think she should, right? I resent her for it. And so, I feel like I’m in the path on the journey to become my body’s best friend. I feel like there’s a lot of forgiveness going back and forth between my brain and my body.

We’re going to look at forgiveness from those two lenses today. Forgiving others, what does it mean? And then, forgiving ourselves, how do we do it? And what does it mean to forgive ourselves?

A few years ago, I had a really painful breakup with a girlfriend of mine. And it was at the beginning of my learning about thought work. In fact, looking back on the whole experience, I can’t look at this breakup with anything other than gratitude. Because this breakup was what led me to the thought work that I teach my clients. And it led me to the life coaching that I do and this huge personal growth experience.

When I look back at this breakup with this situation that happened with this girlfriend of mine, I really cannot look at this as anything other than having gratitude for it. And really just being grateful that I’ve had the experience. Because when I was in the middle of the pain that this friend rejected me, she told me that we were no longer friends.

It was so incredibly painful, and it was also a severe wake-up call. Because I realized this was something that I really needed to change about myself. It really allowed me to say, I don’t want to say, what is wrong with me. But how do I make sure that this doesn’t happen again? And I clearly realized that there was something wrong with the way that I was working within my friendships.

The relationship was over, and it really left me resentful, and angry, and hurt, and sad, and all sorts of negative emotion that I didn’t know how to deal with. What happened next was I sought therapy, and then I also got introduced to the ‘think, feel, act cycle,’ which is exactly what I teach my clients.

Now, at the beginning of this whole process, I really wanted to get over these feelings, these terrible feelings that I was feeling inside of me. And anytime that I would see her after this experience, I just felt lots of anger, and again, sadness, and hurt. It was awkward between us, and it was awkward between our friends. It just wasn’t conducive. It wasn’t a situation that I really wanted to be in.

And so, I went around a lot trying to avoid her so that I wouldn’t experience these feelings. Because once she was out of my way, once I didn’t experience her, once I didn’t see her anymore, then I could ignore the fact that I had been rejected. I had done something to have her reject me, it was all just very painful.

And then, eventually those hurt feelings, that sadness, that rejection, I started funneling it towards her. Now, here’s the really important thing when it comes to negative emotions when we’re talking about relationships. Other people cannot feel our emotion. And equally, I cannot feel someone else’s negative emotion or any emotion.

So, if right now, my husband is filled with love for me. I don’t actually feel that love until he says something to the effect of ‘honey, I love you.’ When he says those words, then I fill myself with love because of what I think about his words.

I think that this is really important to point out here because here I was just feeling really angry, feeling really resentful, feeling really rejected, feeling all of these terrible, terrible emotions. And she wasn’t feeling any of it. She may have been feeling her own emotions, I don’t know what was going on with her.

But I do know that she could not feel my emotions that were directed at her. She could not feel the anger that I had directed at her. Unless I did something that would allow her to realize or think, ‘gee, Elizabeth is really angry with me.’ And so, I think that it’s really important when we carry around these negative emotions for other people or for situations that we realize that they are only hurting us.

And when I think about that, I think about the phrase that ‘holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.’ I love that phrase because it’s so incredibly true. But when we are in that feeling of anger, of sadness, of resentment, whatever it is, when we feel those things, we don’t want to let them go.

We don’t want to forgive the other person because we feel like if I forgive that person, then that’s telling them that what they did was okay. What they did absolutely was not okay. I do not want to forgive them because I don’t want to validate that what they did was okay. And I don’t want them to do it to me again. I don’t want them to go around doing it to other people thinking that they can do that. Right?

When we think about forgiveness, I really want you to reframe the idea of forgiveness. And I really had to do this when I was done feeling all of the anger towards her, when I was done feeling all of the resentment. I realized; you know what? I don’t want to feel this way anymore. It’s not hurting her because she can’t feel it.

And it’s only hurting me when I think about it and it’s hurting me because I’m carrying it around and I’m thinking about it and it’s weighing on my mind, and I just want to be free of these thoughts and emotions.

And so, when we think about forgiveness, we’re really talking about letting it go, allowing that situation. First of all, acknowledging that that situation happened, we can’t go back, and we can’t change it. Because we can’t change anything that happened in the past. We can do different things going forward, sure. We can try and make right the situation if for some reason we were the ones that did the violating or did the hurting. We can try and make reparations, for sure.

But we can’t go back in time and change what happened. We think forgiveness is saying, you know what? It’s all water under the bridge, I’ve let it go. What happened was okay and we’re going to go right back to where we were before this thing happened. And what I want to tell you is that could not be further from the truth.

So, when we talk about forgiveness, yes, we are going to let it go. We’re going to allow what happened in the past. We’re going to accept it and we’re not going to allow it to take up any more brain space. What that means is that we acknowledge that it actually happened, and it happened exactly the way it did. But we’re not going to have any more resentment towards that thing that happened.

Now, in order for that to happen, we need to fully be on board with processing the emotion that we have for that situation. What I mean by that is first of all, I have a really good podcast, podcast number 10, called how to feel. And it’s all about processing emotion. So, if you’re confused as to how do I process emotions, go back, and listen to episode number 10 and I’ll put the link in the show notes.

But also, what we want to do is first of all, understand that whatever it is that we’re feeling, that we are completely 100% entitled to feel. Not avoiding the emotion that were having, 100% noticing, what it is that’s coming up for us. Is it hurt? Is it resentment? Is it sadness? Is it anger? And then, what is that trying to tell us? Why do we feel that way? And do we feel like we are justified in those feelings?

Now, something that I teach my clients and the women in the Feel Good Sisterhood is the think, feel, act cycle. The think, feel, act cycle is the idea that our feelings, our emotions are actually caused by our thoughts about a situation.

So, when someone does something to us and we feel a certain way about it, we feel sadness, we feel resentment, we feel guilt, we feel shame. What we want to do is uncover the thoughts that are producing that emotion.

It can actually be really helpful if you work with a therapist, or you work with a coach to really get to the bottom of why is it that you’re feeling these emotions towards that thing or that person. And then, once you’ve done that work and you’ve really processed the emotion, then the next step is to decide that you’re willing to let it go.

So, there are actually four different stages or steps that we talk about when we talk about forgiveness. And the first step is the uncovering. That’s when you’re just trying to figure it all out. Like, why am I really upset about this? What happened? What bothers me? What am I okay about? And then, really figuring it all out.

And I think that the other piece there is also really acknowledging what my role in this situation was. So, when we’re talking about forgiveness, like what was my role? How did I show up in this relationship that allowed this thing to happen.

Now, be aware that when I’m talking about this, some of you may be jumping to extreme examples of forgiveness such as sexual assault, or physical assault. things like that.

For the purposes of our discussion today, let’s just assume that if that’s where you’re going, that you did not have a responsibility in how that showed up. But what we’re really talking about is other types of relationships.

So, the second step in our stages of forgiveness is deciding that you want to let it go. You want to let go of the thoughts; you want to let go of the anger and resentment that you’re carrying around. When you do that, be aware that you need to process the emotion and really allow the emotion to take its course.

If you try to forgive too quickly, it will not hold. You will try and you’ll be frustrated because you’ll just go back into the anger, the resentment, the disappointment, the shame, the guilt, whatever the emotion is. And so, be aware that when you try to rush the process, it’s not going to happen.

So, allow it to happen at its own pace. And when you’ve fully processed the emotion, when you fully acknowledged the situation and worked through it, you will know when you’re ready to move on.

The third phase is the work phase. In the work phase, what you’re going to do is you’re going to notice your thoughts around this person or the situation. And what I’d like you to do is when you notice what your thoughts are, I’d like you to imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have those thoughts and those feelings.

Like, how would it feel when you see that person to not think anything or when you have the memory of the situation to just acknowledge it that it happened, but not feel resentful towards it or angry towards it. And so, that’s how it would feel to actually let it go is to not hold any more emotion around that person or that event.

So again, you’re still acknowledging that it happened. You’re understanding that you can’t change it, but you don’t want to keep carrying this emotion around with you. Again, thought work can help with these and one of the tools that you can use is reframing the situation.

So, you can ask yourself, how else can I think about this situation? What is another way that I can think about this situation that wouldn’t produce the same emotion? How can I think about this so that maybe it isn’t as hurtful. Can I look at the situation from higher self-perspective? And you might not be able to. Again, this is going to take some work.

So, it’s really about being able to work through, looking at the situation from another point of view. If it’s applicable asking, can I see my role in this situation? Did I not establish boundaries that were appropriate? Or could I have prevented this from happening? If I were to do this situation, if I were to do this thing over again, if I were to relive this situation. What could I do differently in the future so that it doesn’t happen again?

And so, that’s really the learning piece there is how do we learn from this experience so that we don’t go on and we keep repeating the same cycle.

Now, step number four is practicing. So, establishing clear boundaries. Here’s the thing, when I had my breakup with my friend, I really resisted forgiveness. And I resisted it because I assumed that if I were to forgive her, if I were to forgive myself, if I were to forgive the situation, I was fearful that we would go back to the way things were.

I want you to be aware that this is a huge fallacy of what forgiveness work is all about. You do not have to have things go back to the way that they were. You can establish a completely new relationship with that person, if you want to. And when I say new relationship, no relationship is also a relationship.

So, you can forgive someone and still decide that you are not going to have a relationship with that person. It’s okay. You can also decide that you don’t want to forgive them. And you can also decide that that person never has to know that you have forgiven them. Because of the stigma that comes along with that or the association that comes along with that. That, okay, I’m not going to carry it around with me anymore, but that doesn’t mean that what you did was right.

And so, if I were to tell someone that I have forgiven them, what that does is it may tell them, oh, what I did was right, and we don’t want that. I think that one of the reasons that I really resisted forgiving this situation, I’m not going to say that I forgive her, but I just let the situation go. I allowed myself to stop thinking about it.

The other thing that I want you to be aware of and this is especially true when it comes to families is other people will want you to forgive that person. The reason that they want you to forgive that person is because they want everything to go back to the way things were because they are now uncomfortable.

And so, I want you to give yourself permission to allow things to be uncomfortable. I want you to give yourself permission to allow things to be awkward. And give yourself a ton of compassion. Give yourself a ton of grace in accepting where you are at any time.

Now, when we are in this practicing phase, I want you to be aware that it’s totally normal to go back to the anger, the sadness, and the resentment. If this is the case for you, just be aware that it’s a normal part of the process and that you just need to work on remembering your reframing of the situation.

And eventually, what will happen is it will become a new normal. It won’t be the way that it was, there may be glimpses of how it was, occasionally. But it won’t go back 100%. And I love this phrase, ‘you cannot un-ring a bell.’ So, we can’t pretend that everything is just fine.

One of the things that I think comes up when we’re talking about forgiveness is people will often ask me and I asked myself this, how can I ever trust again? And here’s what I want to offer you is that you can 100% trust this person again. What I mean by that is trust that they are who they are.

And so, you do not have to allow yourself to be vulnerable with them if you don’t want to. You can trust that they will do the exact same thing again. Really, establishing clear boundaries of what you are and what you are not willing to tolerate in your life. What you are willing and not willing to tolerate from this person.

And so, really be aware that when we are on the path to forgiveness, it doesn’t mean that you have to get hurt again. And also, remember that you don’t want to force forgiveness towards other people. Again, we really want to process the emotion. And if I haven’t said that enough, really allow it to take as much time as it needs. Don’t rush it. Because when we do, we’ll just feel resentful for longer periods of time.

Now, I do want to talk a little bit about forgiving yourself. And what I mean by that is on our path to loving ourselves more, enjoying our body. We really need to think about the things that we did, that we feel shame about, that we feel guilty about, that we feel just negative emotion about. I really want to invite you to forgive past versions of yourself.

So, there’s some work that I do with my clients around the past versions of themselves. And I really believe that we can’t love who we are today and who we will become until we resolve those feelings of guilt, or shame, or judgment that we have on the past versions of ourselves.

There’s some work that we can do around it that can be really helpful. And it just involves thinking about those situations that you feel judgment or shame about. Allowing yourself to do the same process on the younger versions of yourself so that you can become your own best friend.

You can have your own back. You can then, allow yourself to trust yourself in situations, and really earn that trust back with yourself. Really become your body’s best friend. And ask her for forgiveness for doing the things that we shouldn’t have been doing.

So, like eating that pan of brownies. I’ve used that situation, that circumstance a couple of times on this podcast. Can you tell that I’ve done that in the past?

When we can ask our body for forgiveness for doing things that we know aren’t good for our body, then what happens is we can try to do better next time. When we stopped being at war with our body, when we stop feeling angry and resentment towards our body, and really understand that she is our ride or die. She has our back, and she is doing everything in her power to do the best, given the tools that we are giving her.

So, if we’re not taking care of her, she doesn’t really have a lot of leeway in terms of how she works with those tools. And when we’re talking about tools here, we’re talking about sleep, eating, exercise, stress management. When we can do those things that are really for her, what happens is she will take care of us.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you do carry around anger, resentment, and other negative emotions about past situations, I hope you can use these tools in order to clear them out.

I know that when I learned about forgiveness and learned it in this context, it really allowed me to let go of a lot of things that I was holding on to. Anger and resentment and feeling like a victim were things that were very comfortable for me in my former life. And through doing this thought work, what it’s done is it’s really allowed me to free myself. And it’s work that I do with my clients, and I help them do it as well.

I hope that this has been helpful. Of course, if you need help with any of this, I recommend that you schedule a consult call with me. And you can do that by going to elizabethsherman.com/consult. I’ll also have a link to it in the show notes.

So, have an amazing week everyone and I will talk to you next time. Bye-bye.

Hey, thanks for listening.

If you’re done with dieting and would like to work with me as your coach, I’d like to invite you to reach out to myself and my team to ask about programs and pricing. Go to elizabethsherman.com/contact to get started today. I can’t wait to hear from you.

See you next week.


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