How Forgiveness Brought Me Back to Life

| February 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

10656142_mAlthough I always take motivational phrases with a grain of salt, I have to admit the old adages about forgiveness are true pearls of wisdom. Forgiveness is the best foundation for a happy life because it means making peace with the past and moving on. I used to hold onto grudges and guilt like a bulldog, until I realized that by clinging to my sore wounds, I was just keeping them open instead of letting go and letting myself heal. I want to share my path of forgiveness in hopes it encourages someone to accept their tender spots and use them as seedlings of future peace, happiness, and personal growth.

He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Love Cannot Die

If you asked me about my life’s biggest achievement two years ago, ‘My bulletproof marriage’ would have been an instant answer. Back then, I had a husband I loved deeply and I wholeheartedly believed in our happily ever after. Our marriage was simply It, my one-way ticket to a life of companionship. My life revolved around our home and the time we spent together; our once-in-a-lifetime romance had weathered even the direst hardships. But fairytales are just that – magical stories where every love lasts forever. Over time, my husband grew distant, but infatuated as I still was, I did not take heed of the telltale signs and instead ascribed his silence and worn looks to overwork. My mother died in January 2013; I succumbed to depression and pain. Unknowingly, I made a fatal mistake: I expected. Expectations are a black pit: you lay claims, forgetting that life is not designed for your satisfaction only. My husband filed for divorce in April that year – he said he stopped loving me long before my mom died, and could not live in a loveless marriage any more. That is when my binge eating started: a series of desperate attempts to fill the abysmal emptiness inside me because I had lost everything that kept my soul alive.

Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave. – Indira Gandhi

Down the Drain

Four months later, my heart was silent and heavy with grief, and the scale kept screaming that my body was becoming heavier, too, due to food binges. I barely slept at night: my mind was a labyrinth of questions; guilt and accusations with no Exit sign in sight. I stopped cooking; the sight of the kitchen where we used to eat together sent me into sobs and shivers. My diet revolved around takeout, as leaving the house felt pointless because there was nothing outside that could possibly interest me. I blamed my husband for his callousness; he had killed our love and our marriage vows without flinching. In September, an old friend called me: she had recently moved to my neighborhood and wanted to catch up. I reluctantly agreed to meet over dinner. That night, I talked about everything that hurt so deeply for the first time, and all the tears I kept inside came out, for my mother, my ex husband, my own wrecked life. My friend listened; eventually, she said something that completely shattered my bubble of sadness: “Forgive yourself; you owe that to yourself; and also forgive him – he had vows to his well-being, not just your marriage.” That was when I realized: the only thing that was holding me hostage was me.

As we know, forgiveness of oneself is the hardest of all the forgivenesses. – Joan Baez

The Steep Way Out: How forgiveness brought me back to life

It took me a while to forgive my husband, but forgiving myself was even harder: I realized that excess weight, rejection of life, and self-pity were my fault alone. My ex husband was not guilty of my current state – I was. I signed up for the gym and started dieting. My fitness coach taught me several techniques for falling asleep fast to help me rest, take control of my appetite, and curb cravings. I went for long walks with my friend every day and, after a month, my mood started gradually improving. I realized that true love cannot die, as long as I love myself as much as I loved my ex spouse.

Not all loves last forever – but that does not mean life ends with a divorce. In fact, I am now thankful for all that makes my life amazing: friends, hobbies, work, and personal growth. Today, I am grateful for the good times of my marriage – perhaps the parting should have come sooner, because no love should be forced into agony.

Samantha Olivier

Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogospere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Twitter at @sam_olivier_, or in a tea shop.

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Category: Health and Nutrition

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