Forgiveness is a funny thing. During an especially difficult year I went to a psychologist to try and deal with some things that were going on in my life.  What happened that year is a topic for another post, but suffice it to say that it was a year of incredible loss.  Think of a year just shy of Joan Didon’s The Year of Magical Thinking.  I needed help. I drove myself to several appointments, always on icky rainy days (I swear I’m not making this up for dramatic flair), and always with the Wallflower’s album One Headlight playing.   And while I didn’t really like him, because as my friend Corrine pointed out, I wanted him to already be caught up (yes, yes, we can all agree this was unfair of me) I must give him props for introducing an idea to me.

I don’t know if this is a basic starting point for a practicing psychiatrist/psychologist, but what the man said was that he was hearing a great deal of shoulds when I was talking.  In the aftermath of that year I expected more from certain people in my life.  I felt they should have done more.  They should have acted differently.  SHOULD HAVE KNOWN what I needed.

And when they didn’t….

“Be careful of the shoulds,” he said.

I was floored.  I was angry and hurt and I had backed myself into this corner.  And the only way out was to forgive people for not meeting my unspoken expectations.  I had to find a way to forgive them for not being there for me in the wake of the worst year of my life.  Forgive them for not being people they weren’t.  Hope that they might do the same for me.

The struggle with being overweight is like that, you know.  You get caught up in the expectations, those you lay out and those others push on you.  The small ones get you, food = love.  The big ones get you, love = food.  The shoulds all catch up with you and you have to find a way to forgive others for falling short when, perhaps, you most need them not to.    And then you have to forgive yourself.  Learn to trust yourself again.  And move on.

It’s never easy.  But it’s the only way.


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