It seems to me that for forgiveness to succeed, it is necessary for low self-esteem and toxic anger to disappear. What do you think?
For forgiveness to significantly raise a person’s self-esteem and to lower toxic anger, the person needs to commit, with a strong will, to the practice of forgiveness. This takes, as Aristotle says, practice, practice, and more practice. Our Process Model of Forgiveness is an empirically-verified way of helping people to reduce in negative emotions. Yet, when we forgive, we do not necessarily leave all negative psychological issues behind. For example, we still may have some residual anger, but that anger now no longer controls us. Instead, we are in control of the anger.
What is the relationship between forgiveness and self esteem? Is there a connection between them?
Yes, and our research shows over and over again that as people forgive, they start to like themselves more. In other words, when beaten down by others, the offended people tend to believe the lie. Forgiveness releases them from the lie that they are worthless and instead they see that all people have worth. Thus, their self-esteem rises.
When a close friend really hurt me deeply I felt attacked mentally, physically, and emotionally. I always felt out of control. I faced humiliation and suffered anxiety. I developed migraine headaches and spent time in the hospital. Their words made me feel worthless. Am I worthless?
You most certainly are not worthless. Why? It is because all people are special, unique, and irreplaceable. There never was a person on this earth quite like you…..and there never will be again. As with the case of self-esteem or negative feelings toward the self, your thinking sometimes can become too general about who you are relative to the betrayals which you have experienced. You might slowly, and without even noticing it, drift into negative self-statements about who you are as a person. It is time to resurrect the truth: You are a person of worth no matter what, not matter how much pain you have, no matter the condemning statements from others. I urge you to re-read the previous sentence until this new thinking about who you are is solidified and consistent within you. You….have…..great……worth.