Have you made mistakes or even intentional wrongdoings on your weight loss journey? And more importantly, did you forgive yourself for them?
We can all relate to someone doing us wrong and feeling hurt, betrayed, even hopeless. I’m going through this in my own life right now, and I’m not ready to forgive these people who I feel hurt by. And guess what? That’s okay. Processing our emotions and sorting through our thoughts takes time, and the pathway to forgiveness is not always clear, but I’m walking you through a process I use to get there.
Tune in this week as I show you how the work of processing your resentment and anger is applicable to other people in your life, but even more, how it’s applicable to you and feeling disappointed or frustrated about your body, your weight loss journey, or your choices. I’m inviting you to consider that forgiveness is actually a gift you can give yourself, and what getting to this place can lead to.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 60.
Welcome to Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you’re a successful woman who is ready to stop struggling with your weight, you’re in the right place. You’ll learn everything you need to know to lose weight for the last time in bitesize pieces. Here’s your host, Master Certified coach, Natalie Brown.
Hey everybody. So the fun never ends around here. I feel like I keep being offered the opportunity by the universe to decide how I want to show up in my relationships in response to actions people take that affect me in some way.
So if you’re an Office fan, you probably remember the episode where Jim and Pam are going to couples therapy and they are given the homework by their therapist to speak their truth to each other and acknowledge and appreciate each other’s sacrifice and refer to everything they don’t want to do as an opportunity.
That’s the kind of opportunity I’m talking about. One I don’t really want and didn’t choose, but I’m having anyway. So I had a couple of separate issues arise with a couple of people that I love. And feeling a lot of feelings about it based on all the thoughts I’m having about it.
And I’m still kind of processing through it, clearly, as I’m sure you can hear based on my sarcasm. I’m not at peace with it. I’m not where I want to be with it. And so, I wanted to walk you through my process here so you can see it in progress and can know just in case you ever had any doubts, I am by far not a perfect human.
I’m not sitting over here having figured life out completely. I still struggle with things. My brain is stubborn, I do not have a perfectly managed mind all of the time, and I’m not always dealing well with all emotions and whatever life throws at me. I’m a human.
I’ve been thinking about you all along the way as well because what I’m working on is feeling forgiveness for these people. And I think this comes up a lot for my clients with themselves. We have a lot of beating ourselves up going on in the weight loss process, and I think that comes from our inability to forgive ourselves for missteps and mistakes along the way, even intentional wrongdoing to ourselves where we’re like, “Screw the goal, I’m eating all the things.”
Forgiveness for ourselves in these cases is like a lifeline of compassion. It allows us to move forward with focus in the direction of our goals unburdened from our past actions. But I think a lot of the time we see it as going too easy on ourselves and we think if we forgive, we are being too permissive and we will never learn.
But I think it’s worth looking into that to see if it’s true. Much of the time, I come on the podcast and I’m like, here’s a thing I dealt with or here’s a thing my clients dealt with and here’s how they got through it and here’s what you can do too.
But I want to spend a minute walking you through the process I go through and am in because I think it’s really valuable to work this out for myself, to think about it critically and to notice what’s going on and eventually get to the place I want to get with it.
I don’t always know as I’m processing emotions and sorting through thoughts from a situation where I want to get with it. That’s not necessarily a thing that is always there. In this case, I think getting to a feeling of forgiveness would help me move forward but it’s not always so clear.
So don’t think that any time you’re processing through something you have to know your exact destination. Much of the time, my aim is just to understand why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling, what I’m thinking, and to be curious about it. Really question it and I get somewhere else naturally through that process.
A couple of situations came up with two different people I love, one after the other, because of course, when it rains it pours, right? That is why that saying is a thing. And without going into too much detail, both of these people did some things and made some choices that inadvertently affect me.
So I’m feeling hurt, I’m feeling betrayed, I’m feeling angry, I’m feeling frustrated, I’m feeling really sad, I’m feeling hopeless, I’m feeling a whole bunch of emotions based on what I’m making their actions mean. I have some thoughts like, “They don’t care about me. They have no respect for me. They keep doing the same thing over and over. I’ve expressed very clearly how I feel and what my expectations are. They don’t listen. They should know better. They should be listening to me and hearing me and doing what I think they should be doing. This relationship isn’t real. It’s based on lies. This person is telling me what I want to hear, not what’s true. I’m so invested. I invest all this time and energy and money and this person is not invested. They just don’t care.”
If these sentences are my brain’s interpretation of the actions these people have taken and the words they’ve said, makes perfect sense that I’m feeling what I’m feeling, right? When I think they don’t care about me, I feel hurt. They keep doing the same thing over and over, even though I’ve expressed how I feel and what my expectations are, when I believe that sentence, I feel betrayed.
I feel angry when I believe I invest all this time and money and this person is not invested. I feel frustrated when I think they should know better. I feel hopeless when I believe this relationship isn’t real.
There are usually a lot of these thought and feeling pairs swirling around. The thoughts in my head, the resulting feelings in my body. I usually like to write them all down and look at them one by one. I don’t have to look at all of them, just FYI.
Sometimes we have 20, 30, 50 thoughts. We don’t have to look at every single one of them one by one in order to process, but looking at either the feelings first and asking myself why I’m feeling that, which shows me what I’m thinking, that’s creating that feeling, or I look at the thought I’m having and I tune into what feeling that thought is creating. Sometimes both.
So I think that’s step one in the working through something process for me is sort of getting it all out. Getting all the thoughts out and sort of taking a look at them one by one and matching them up. What feeling does this thought create? What thought is creating this feeling?
Once I have the landscape of the thoughts and feelings that are swirling around out, I go back to the story and I make sure I get the facts straight. I get what happened down to its simplest form. No opinions, no emotions, just the basics. I start there.
Peel back the layers of my story to just the facts. Sometimes I’ll separate out the specific words the person said, like the sentence, and sometimes I’ll get even more simple and basic and just say blank person’s name said words to me.
Just depends on sort of the emotion that’s coming up as I’m looking at it. The more simple, the more basic, the less emotional, the less likely it is to be – have an opinion wove in in there, so I just like to get it down to the facts.
And really, the purpose of this is to separate the story my brain’s telling from what is actually happening, what is inarguably true. It’s differentiating what I don’t have control over from what I do. I don’t control the things other people do or say, and other things that happen outside of me. But I do have control over what I make those things mean.
My brain often defaults to making it mean something about me or mean something that feels painful. So even though I do have options as to what I make it mean or how I perceive it, my default setting is not always how I want to ultimately think and feel about it.
So this process of separating out facts from story, looking at the sentences my brain is currently choosing to use to tell the story, noticing the feelings those sentences are creating, and questioning them is how I start to have some authority over it.
It’s through this looking closer process that I’m able to start making some more deliberate decisions about what I want to think and feel about the situation. But I have to really know what I am currently thinking and feeling and understand where that’s coming from before I can do that.
The basic facts of the situation are these people did these things and said these things. And I’m not burdening you with the specifics but even just that, super simple and basic. That’s really in its simplest form what went down.
These things that are happening around us and to us, our brains tell these big elaborate stories about it all but really the facts are pretty simple. I’m making their actions and their words mean a whole bunch of things about me. I’m making it personal with my thinking.
Now, here are three really important words for you. And that’s okay. It’s okay to make it mean something about me. It’s okay to make it personal. It’s okay to feel hopeless and frustrated and hurt. These are natural human emotions. They are not problems to be solved. They are experiences in my body and I see them as messages.
Messages alerting me to something I might want to take a closer look at. Not things I have to change as soon as possible. Processing through a situation and all the thoughts and feelings involved is a way to move through the emotion authentically and arrive at a different place.
But the goal is not to rush to feeling better. I don’t want that to be misunderstood. I have allowed myself time here, meaning weeks, not minutes or hours, as I’m working through just to be mad. To just feel hurt and cry, fully owning that it is my interpretation that is creating those emotions.
And that they are real and raw because my interpretation seems true to me right now. I allow space to be where I am, in whatever emotion I am in, without escaping or punishing myself for it, but also without fueling the fire. And what I mean by that is I’ve talked through it with a couple of trusted people but I’m not spending time telling the story over and over to try to validate that my interpretation is right or prove anything to myself.
I have felt a bit stuck at times with this particular situation, like I’ve gone around in a circle. It usually sounds like, “Well, this just sucks,” or, “I shouldn’t be having to deal with this.” Some form of arguing with reality for sure, which is also okay.
It takes time to acknowledge and understand how you’re thinking and feeling. It takes some effort to accept reality at times. Having the patience to let my process take however long it takes is so powerful.
It says to me that what I think and feel is valid and that I am worth understanding. So where does forgiveness come into this process? Forgiveness is something we think we give to someone else but it is actually a gift we give ourselves.
Because the someone else doesn’t feel your forgiveness. They don’t feel the feeling you have. They don’t even feel your wrath or anger like we sometimes want them to, right? Do you have anyone in your life, maybe yourself, who is hellbent on hating an ex-partner or an ex-boss or an ex whatever who “wronged” them in some way in their life?
They think they have to hold on to this wrath and anger to teach this person a lesson or emphasize their disapproval of the person’s choices. They carry the anger around and justify it by saying that person doesn’t deserve my forgiveness, things like that.
Meanwhile, the other person, just walking around in the world doing their thing, feeling whatever they’re feeling, not experiencing the rage from across the world or country or state, or to be honest, even across the room. Feelings don’t travel from your body to someone else’s.
So the forgiveness I want to feel is a feeling for me to experience. We often say I forgive you or I will never forgive you, which implies that we are doing it for their benefit. But the actual definition is to stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
To forgive or feel forgiveness is about you. This doesn’t make it easy, of course. I am feeling pretty righteous and indignant about my position in these situations. I am right, they are wrong. They have wronged me.
My brain is not quite willing to let that go yet. I feel some resistance to the idea of forgiveness as a result of my brain wanting to hang on. When I notice resistance, I get curious. What is standing in the way of me feeling forgiveness?
In this case, my resistance, my desire to stay angry about it is almost like a wall that I’ve put up to try to protect myself from this happening again and me feeling this way again, from this person doing something like this again and me feeling hurt.
I see the anger taking a stronger position, meaning kind of steps out in front, becomes the more prevalent emotion in front of the hurt and the hopelessness. It feels protective almost. And I’m allowing it for now. It’s been a week or two and I am giving myself permission to just be mad about it. I just kind of want to be mad right now.
In my experience, it takes a bit for me to soften my position, to let the anger step aside and to open up to feeling the hurt. It feels so vulnerable and a little bit dangerous maybe to my brain to just feel hurt. I recognize that. Being willing to feel hurt takes courage and sometimes it takes time for me to gather it.
Think about you for a minute. Are you holding on to anger and frustration toward yourself? For where you are? Are you feeling hurt and hopeless about the way you are showing up for you or not showing up?
Notice the feelings you have when you think about how you take care of you. What messages are they sending? If you look closer, what might you find?
If forgiveness is a gift for you to experience, what is standing in the way of you feeling that about your own actions? How would things change if you were able to feel forgiveness for you?
I think for me, forgiveness is a gift I will give myself. And it starts with compassion and it leads to love. When I am willing to get humble and vulnerable and look at the situation from the other person’s point of view, I can usually find some compassion for them.
Once again, compassion is a feeling I experience in my body, not something literally for them. But most of the time, when I can stand in their shoes and imagine what is happening in their brain, what they might be thinking and feeling that drove them to do or say what they did, I still don’t have to like it or agree but I can at least understand.
From that compassion, I can step into forgiveness and that leads me back to feeling love, which is definitely what I would like to feel for these particular people in my life. I’m not there yet, but I am working to get there.
There’s no rush, there’s plenty of time. The same is true for you. If you’re holding on to resentment or anger for actions you have taken, if you’re feeling frustration or disgust for yourself because of where you are, if you’re feeling disappointment about your body, your weight loss journey, your choices, that’s okay.
Take some time to understand why you feel this way and consider how forgiveness might serve you here. This is how we break the cycle of punishment eating that I so often see. Where we eat something we didn’t plan, or that isn’t aligned, we beat ourselves up about the choice, refuse to understand it or feel forgiveness, and instead just pile on more shame, which as we all know, leads to hiding in the pantry with chocolate chips or Oreos or whatever you choose to punish eat.
How can you move through these feelings and give yourself the gift of forgiveness? Okay my friends, only a few more weeks until my April weight loss group kicks off.
If you want to build some of these skills, I mentioned in the podcast today, raising awareness of and processing through thoughts and feelings, understanding why you’re thinking and feeling what you are, allowing yourself to experience the emotions instead of eating, learning to make deliberate decisions about how you want to feel and show up, these are all things my clients work super hard to learn and develop in my program.
Head to itbeginswithathought.com/apply if you want to be a part of it. See you soon.
Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you want to learn more about how to lose weight for the last time, come on over to itbeginswithathought.com. We’ll see you here next week.