Long before my diagnosis, I read a book which changed my life: You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay. She believes that all dis-ease/disease in the body has an underlying emotional cause. In the case of cancer, the underlying cause is holding on to resentment, which eats away at the spirit as cancer eats away at the body. In order to free oneself of resentment, it is necessary to forgive.
I believe in a holistic view of healing. I took a firm hand to healing my body, through my treatments, diet, exercise and supplements. I realized however, that true healing would not happen unless I also addressed the needs of mind and my spirit. I had some forgiving to do!
Every day for more than a month, I would visualize the people who have hurt me, and I would say in my mind, “I forgive you and I wish you well.” Sometimes a little voice in my head would jump in and say, “I forgive you and I wish you well……you bitch!” But eventually I came to feel the truth of my words, and I was able to truly forgive. It does not matter that these people do not know they are forgiven. Some of them may not even know that they have hurt me. This exercise was not about freeing them, but freeing myself, since the only person I was hurting by holding on to resentment was me. Once I was able to release that, I opened a space in my spirit for true healing.
Although I was diligent in practicing this exercise, I still had a nagging feeling that I was forgetting to forgive someone. Hmmmmmm……my exes? Check. Friends? Check. Family members? Check. People at work? Check. Then, one day, while waiting for a radiation treatment, I was practicing my affirmation: “ I love and approve of myself just as I am”, when that little voice in my head spoke up once again. It said, “How can you possibly approve of yourself just as you are? You are far from perfect. You are bossy, stubborn and you expect perfection in your relationships with others.” I then realized that the person I was forgetting to forgive was myself. I had never really forgiven myself for a failed marriage, and I harboured guilt for having hurt other people. I was also having trouble forgiving myself for Ben’s autism. Deep inside I wondered if I had done something wrong to cause this disorder. So I was then forced to forgive the one person most in need of my forgiveness: Me. Now when I say my affirmation, “I love and approve of myself just as I am,” I really mean it, warts and all.
Tip: Repeat after me: I love and approve of myself just as I am.