It’s the first day of 2022 as I write this, and I’ve lit a candle my dear friend Ara gave me a few years ago. I needed a reminder of my connection to others and to myself as I tackle a challenge.
Thankfully I don’t technically have an eating disorder. Considering that I have the opportunity to think about food nonstop due to living every single day with type 1 diabetes, I believe it’s a minor miracle that I don’t have an eating disorder. Many people living with type 1 diabetes do in fact end up having full blown eating disorders. There are lots of helpful resources out there if you or anyone you know has type 1 and has an eating disorder. Please reach out if you need resources. I can refer you.
I have a bit of a dilemma which is why I’m writing about this challenge that has come up. One of my audacious goals for 2022 is to live each month within my means. That means I need to curb my grocery budget.
I almost never eat out or eat take out. I cook all my own food and I’m a meal prep planner. Since I’ve had breast cancer twice, I make a big effort to eat organic fruits and vegetables. I don’t eat meat and I eat almost no dairy. You might be wondering, “What does she eat and why does she think she spends too much on her monthly food bill?”
Turns out I come from a family that had food issues.
My mom attended Overeaters Anonymous for most of my early childhood. She thought about food quite a bit. Her mother, my grandmother, grew up in the depression and her father died when she was young, so her mother, my great grandmother, was always thinking about whether or not she had enough food to feed her three daughters.
On the other side of my family, my father grew up in a family where for many years the main breadwinner was my grandmother. She had six children and often they didn’t have enough food for the entire week. My father told stories of how on Sunday evenings they often had popcorn and Kool Aid for dinner.
In my childhood house there was always enough food. From a practical perspective, I never was food insecure. My parents had big gardens and my mother was very good at making the food budget stretch every month. Yet emotionally, I wondered if we would have enough to eat. It was a constant background worry.
The end result is that as an adult, I feel most safe and secure when I have plenty of food in my cupboards and on the shelves in the refrigerator. In short, I tend to spend too much money on food every month.
I want to tackle this spending issue. This is my challenge.
I’ve done quite a bit of forgiveness work in relation to my parents. I am aware that they did the best they could given the self awareness and resources they had.
I also realized I have not yet done any forgiveness work related to the food and money issues I inherited from my parents. I haven’t forgiven myself for not being able to more successfully manage my spending habits and I certainly have not forgiven myself for always making sure I have my refrigerator and shelves as full as possible with food.
This is an important skill very few of us ever learn how to do in a healthy, helpful way. Saying the words “I forgive you” is only one part of the skill.
As luck would have it, earlier this week I heard a show on Minnesota Public Radio about forgiveness. It featured a woman who lives here in the Twin Cities, Mary Hayes Grieco. I found her personal website and her Midwest Institute for Forgiveness Training website, which I have been reading and watching the videos she has for no cost available on her site.
I have decided that I am going to do forgiveness work in 2022. I’m going to start by forgiving myself. Mary’s website has a page that outlines how to go about self forgiveness.
Maybe like me, you aren’t exactly sure what forgiveness is and why it’s so important for health and well-being.
This is from Mary’s Forgiveness Training website:
WHAT is forgiveness? Forgiveness is releasing an expectation that is causing you to suffer.
WHY forgive? So you can be healthy and at peace with people and life, no matter what’s happening. So you can hurt less, love more, and sleep well at night. You do it for you.
Forgiveness IS NOT: forgetting, excusing, giving up, being a doormat, talking to or working things out with the offender; it isn’t getting justice for the situation.
HOW do you forgive? There’s a step-by-step way to do it that always works to give you the relief of forgiveness
I really like that Mary has developed eight clear steps to take on the forgiveness path. Here they are directly from her Forgiveness Training website:
The Eight Steps to Freedom
(Forgiving another person or a life situation)
Prepare yourself for healing and change.
- Step One: State your will to make a change.
- Step Two: Express your feelings exactly as they are inside you.
- Step Three: Release expectations from your mind, one by one.
- Step Four: Restore your boundaries.
- Step Five: Open up to the Universe to get your needs met in a different way.
- Step Six: Receive healing energy from Spirit into your personality.
- Step Seven: Send unconditional love to the other person and release him or her.
- Step Eight: See the good in the person or situation.
Integrate this change; get used to feeling lighter.
I am thankful that I have a therapist that I see almost every week and that she will support me as I do this next round of forgiveness work. I shall remind myself as I take on this emotional challenge of forgiveness that I am doing it for my health and well-being.
One of the things that will take a bit of work is to open up to the Universe to get help to get my need for safety and security met in a different way. I am willing to do this work! And that is step one.
That is a beautiful way to welcome this new year!
What about you, have you heard about this forgiveness practice? Have you tried it? I’d love to hear from you.
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