“Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.” – Hannah Arendt
I came across his quotation today (tweeted by Brian Tracy) that encapsulated an idea that had been percolating for a while. Much of what we do and fail to do hinges on a lack of forgiveness. Stubbornness. Anger. These all push us into a state closer to emotion and further from action. When it comes to the issue of obesity and how we act, I believe that forgiveness is a much of what allows significant action.
For example, I have had patients describe to me how their anger at a parent or a friend drives eating behavior.
What could you do if you said these simple words, and meant them — “I forgive you.” To a hurtful parent. To an unsupportive spouse. To a maddening child.
How about to ourselves?
What old grudges against ourselves are we hanging on to, keeping us stuck? Anger about where we find ourselves is very common, and has been voiced to me on countless occasions. “I can’t believe I let myself get this heavy.” “How could I gain that weight backagain?” “Why can’t I resist that treat that always sabotages my plans?”
We must first accept our current status before we can look to the future and take any meaningful, helpful action.
To extend the analogy, we must build the foundation, the basement that will support a solid structure of healthy action to reach our goals.
What has been your personal “basement?” Who has helped you to get there?