Get help today 888-319-2606 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Practicing the Art of Forgiveness

Today I want to talk about the art of forgiveness and how it can be a huge catalyst for healing your eating disorder.

Eating disorders can result from various experiences or issues, but the one that comes up a lot in my community is anger and resentment toward others and ourselves. This dark, often scary, emotion can cause you to misuse or abuse food in order to dull your anger or suppress it altogether, but avoidance will not do you any favors.

Instead, you need to recognize your anger, process it, and, perhaps most important of all, forgive. When you can enact forgiveness in your life, you create a channel for true healing.

Forgiving Others

I know that there can be a lot of resistance to forgiving others. After all, if someone hurt you or caused you suffering, the last thing you want to do is forgive them. They don’t deserve it, right? But here’s the thing – you do. Stop and think for a moment: What is it costing you to hold on to this anger and resentment for someone else?

It’s time to process your anger and forgive so that you can attain healing. So how do you do this? Take inventory of the people you need to forgive in your life. One by one, really reflect on the time or experience for which they need forgiveness. This may be difficult at first, but remind yourself that we’re all human, and we are all doing the best that we can in any given circumstance.

Shower them with compassion and love, then visualize cutting the cord that connects you to them in order to let go of your anger and resentment. I promise that, once you forgive others and process and release your anger, you will create more space in your life for lightness and love.

Forgiving Yourself

Now let’s talk about forgiving the most important person of all – yourself. I’m sure there are things you’ve done, said, or thought in your life that you are still holding onto. In order to finally release the shame or guilt around these instances, you need to remember that you are human, and all humans make mistakes. It’s our mistakes that help us evolve and grow as people.

I want you to take inventory of the things taking up your emotional space, and reflect on them one at a time. Look for the lessons in each moment. Actually visualize the amount of mental space you are using to hold onto this instance versus the space that could be freed up or occupied by forgiveness and love instead. After reflecting on the experience, cut the cord that keeps you attached to it. Let it go, and usher in forgiveness and lightness. Repeat this ritual for each item on your inventory list. Recognizing the pain, shame, and guilt of what you’re holding onto is the first step toward self-forgiveness, and you are fully deserving of forgiveness and a clean slate.

It’s natural for us to want to hide away our anger, resentment, and pain. This is especially true when it comes to our own mistakes or the mistakes of others that caused us suffering. But when you bring the mistakes and resentment for yourself and others into the light and actually acknowledge them, you lessen the power that they hold over you.

The best way to counter these dark, sticky feelings is to have compassion for yourself and others. It’s when you can change your relationship to pain, and look at it as a learning experience instead of a burden, that you will fully step into your empowerment and ability to forgive, which will allow space for more light and love in your life.

Images Courtesy of iStock

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.