In this week's episode, I focus on self-forgiveness from both a psychological and contemplative/meditative perspective: what it means to self-forgive and ways we can practice self-forgiveness. I share some of the psychological research to date on the benefits of self-forgiveness and then draw on this research to discuss some specific strategies for engaging in the practice of self-forgiveness: 1) acknowledgement and accountability; 2) self-understanding through the lens of self-compassion; 3) intra- and interpersonal amends-making and repair; and 4) committed action. I end with a guided meditation focused on self-forgiveness that incorporates many of these strategies.
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Please note that the information provided in this episode does not constitute professional advice or therapy, mental health services, or health care services, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional advice or services. If you are struggling with a mental health crisis or need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
References & Additional Resources
Cornish, M. A., & Wade, N. G. (2015a). A therapeutic model of self-forgiveness with intervention strategies for counselors. Journal of Counseling & Development, 93, 96–104.
Enright, R. D. (1996). Counseling within the forgiveness triad: On forgiving, receiving forgiveness, and self‐forgiveness. Counseling and values, 40(2), 107-126.
Jacinto, G. A., & Edwards, B. L. (2011). Therapeutic stages of forgiveness and self-forgiveness. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 21(4), 423–437.
Pelucchi S, Paleari FG, Regalia C, Fincham FD. Self-forgiveness in romantic relationships: It matters to both of us. J Fam Psychol. 2013;27(4):541-549.
Peterson SJ, Van Tongeren DR, Womack SD, Hook JN, Davis DE, Griffin BJ. The benefits of self-forgiveness on mental health: Evidence from correlational and experimental research. J Posit Psychol. 2017;12(2):159-168.
Rasmussen KR, Stackhouse M, Boon SD, Comstock K, Ross R. Meta-analytic connections between forgiveness and health: The moderating effects of forgiveness-related distinctions. Psychol Health. 2019;34(5):515-534.
Whited MC, Wheat AL, Larkin KT. The influence of forgiveness and apology on cardiovascular reactivity and recovery in response to mental stress. J Behav Med. 2010;33(4):293-304.
Woodyatt, L., Worthington, E. L., Wenzel, M., & Griffin, B. J. (2017). Orientation to the psychology of self-forgiveness. In Handbook of the psychology of self-forgiveness (pp. 3-16). Springer, Cham.
Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2013). Moving forward: Six steps to forgiving yourself and breaking free from the past. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press.