I’m taking part in a 21-Day Detoxification Program offered through the Oprah Daily Thought Newsletter. The program is led by one of Oprah’s Living Your Best Life Ever partners -Debbie Ford. I receive an email each weekday as she takes us step-by-step through the detoxification process.
Having access to this program is like having free life coaching. Debbie Ford may be a little new age for some. She is definitely a Deep Breathing, Spiritual Healing, Meditation Practicing, Higher-Self Believing, New Age guru. She is also a national best-selling author of many self-help books including her newest book, The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse (Harper Collins). I have to admit, I’m a believer in many ways.
Day 4 asks us to write a letter asking ourselves for forgiveness for all the pain, regret, and anger we’ve been hanging on to and asking yourself for release from the “prison” of your resentments, grudges and disappointments.
I really loved going through the process of this exercise. Almost all of us feel some measure of anxiety and stress in our lives. Most of those emotions are spurred on by depression, guilt (Christian debt), and lack of personal growth.
The fact is that forgiveness truly sets you free. Whether you are forgiving yourself, an ex-husband, friend or family member, forgiveness relieves you of all the depression and anxiety you are feeling in your relationships and allows you to heal yourself on an emotionally healthy level.
It’s also great confidence training since you are not always tearing yourself down over your past transgressions. Instead you are attacking your anxiety and depression head-on with not only kindness but purpose as well.
I believe that you can go through years of marriage and family counseling and spend thousands of dollars on therapists, but if you can’t forgive yourself and others, you will never be able to move out of the darkness of your anger and into the light of freedom.
All of your sessions will be wasted because you first have to be open to “receiving”. When you are can’t forgive, you create an invisible shield around yourself through which good things can’t penetrate. You are unable to receive love, happiness or even forgiveness from others. Instead you are closed off and mired down in anger, pain and resentment.
I recognize this so clearly now that I have some time behind me and perspective on myself during the last days of my marriage. I was so hurt and angry, it was impossible for me to receive the love that my husband was trying to give me.
Many of you have read my post, Letter To My Husband.
I wrote that letter as an exercise to heal myself. I needed to get out all of those thoughts and feeling I had pent up inside. I needed to release my anger and start moving forward. I didn’t write it with the intention to publish it, but it turns out that sharing the Letter to My Husband was a good decision for me and many of you have found it helpful too. I think that letter was one of the first turning points in my road to recovery.
What am I trying to recover? Well, I’m recovering my self-esteem and self confidence. I’m recovering my independence, compassion and kindness. I’m recovering my dignity and purpose in life. I’m recovering myself – before I let all the hurt and anger chew away at all the best parts of me. The parts people like and fall in love with.
I strongly recommend these letter writing exercises. Don’t worry. No one is grading your paper. No one is looking over your shoulder critiquing your content or pointing out misspelled words. Make a list, draw a picture, or ask yourself a question – but, get your pencil moving. You will discover in the end that you have opened a door to your heart for forgiveness and healing.
Besides, at the end of the day – don’t you want to be happier?