Perk # 92: Cancer Forced Me To Forgive

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.




19 thoughts on “Perk # 92: Cancer Forced Me To Forgive

  1. Excellent. I just finished reading Torey Hayden’s book The Tiger’s Child and towards the end Sheila, the main character says “Accepting, forgiving and then letting go. I think I can accept. I think I can even forgive, but I’ve been wondering and wondering about letting go. trying to figure out what’ letting go’ entails, and all I can think of is that it means living your life forward. Starting to think of the future more than the past.” It stayed with me all week and your blog sums it up well. Thank you.

  2. This really hits home for me as I was harboring some deep hatred at the time of my diagnosis. But it took my diagnosis to learn that I needed to forgive. Since I forgave this person I have such better things to occupy my mind as I never realized all the energy I was wasting on hate.
    Great post!

  3. Wow Florence – that was a very honest posting and it makes a lot of sense. You have had such an amazing journey getting through cancer and becoming a survivor. Keep writing because you are helping many, many people!!!!

  4. i am in line with the savvy sister’s comments. i had some serious heartache and anger to overcome and was fighting it…with my diagnosis i slowly had to come out of it, forcing myself to release all of that negative energy. i am truly wanting to post about it, but its a bit too private to share on my blog. maybe someday. thank you for saying what i have been wanting to say! great post.

  5. I so agree, thank you for sharing. I was exactly the same, and despite being a yoga therapist for many years, I was shocked when I discovered how many people I was still angry with, and on such a deep level. When the tumours spread to my liver, I realised this was “anger cancer” and I had to do something major to work on these poisons devouring my organs. Forgive, forgive, forgive is so true. We start by forgiving ourselves as you so rightly say, then continually forgive all those who have caused us pain or not matched out expectations.

    I found the words from Jesus’s lips to be most poignant: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”.

  6. You’ve given me a lot to think about (once again 🙂 ). Forgiving ourselves is incredibly hard to do – sometimes because we don’t realize we need to do it and sometimes because we don’t think we are worthy of forgiveness. Great post, Florence!

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