A few years ago, I listened to a recording of a talk by Iyanla Vanzant, in which she spoke about a powerful healing process she called, "The Forgiveness Diet". It resonated with me deeply. She also referred to it as “70 in 7″ (seventy times seven is, how many times Christ said we need to forgive). How it works is this:
35 times in the morning
35 times in the evening
For 7 days, you make the statement,
“I forgive myself totally and unconditionally for all judgments I have held about and against (name of person here).”
If you miss one time, you have to start again. You do this until you have done it for 7 days.
Notice this is not about forgiving others, but rather forgiving ourselves for judging others. Because who does that hurt? It hurts us. Iyanla calls forgiveness soul food. This diet is to heal and soothe your soul and relieve you of the burden of all those negative thoughts you carry around with you. Consider it a detox or cleansing diet for the soul. The intention is to give ourselves a fresh start, flushing those resentments out of our systems, and opening our hearts to love.
Everyone deserves the right to be loved and accepted for who they are. Judgment closes that flow of love. But in the area of forgiveness, we need to start with ourselves. Often our judgments of others are in essence simply a projection of our judgment of ourselves. Healing ourselves, heals our relationships.
The Forgiveness Diet is similar to the "7 Day Mental Diet" written about by New Thought teacher, Emmet Fox. It’s a similar plan in that you are to give up all negative thoughts for a week. My guess is that there is something powerful about committing to change a destructive habit for 7 days.
As Iyanla said, “It can’t hurt, and it’s free.”
This blog post first appeared as a post on my blog, Blessed Madness, which was online from 2006 - 2009. I thought it was worth repeating here.