Forgive yourself; one step closer to healthy living
New research from Baylor University finds there is more to making amends than what meets the eye. Seeking forgiveness from others is not fulfilling closure until you have forgiven yourself, according to the study. The findings are published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.
Inabilities to self-forgive can lead to many conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, and even a weaker immune system, researchers said. Another important condition that can affect your mental health is closure. Without closure, or “letting go,” your body can react in these negative ways.
Two studies were performed to test the effects on not accepting self-closure. Nearly 300 participants who ranged from committing criminal offenses to relationship betrayals were surveyed.
The participants were asked if they felt that self-forgiveness after making amends was acceptable. Studies showed that when amends were made, participants were able to let go of their wrongdoings.
The second study was done with 208 participants in which they refused to accept blame for a friend losing his or her job.
The study found the guiltier the participants felt, the less likely they were to forgive themselves.
The seriousness of the offense also affected the results because they felt obligated to “hold onto” the guilt.
“One of the barriers people face in forgiving themselves appears to be that people feel morally obligated to hang on to those feelings,” said Thomas Carpenter, Baylor researcher. “They feel they deserve to feel bad. Our study found that making amends gives us permission to let go.”
These offenses cannot be reversed thus creating this questionable phenomena of morality. Is it acceptable to let it go? Researchers said making amends with others is just the first step of closure, and forgiving oneself can lead to future positive and healthy living.
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