Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Forgiveness and Atonement

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Sep 26, 2012 6:40 PM

It's the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur this week, which is about repentence, atonement and forgiveness. These important concepts are Christian, too, since Jesus was a Jew and preached what he knew. So, why am I mentioning these ideas as part of a psychology blog? Because they are such a big part of self-healing. If we feel shame or harbor it deep inside, it may eat at us as a depression, or stimulate us towards self-abusive behavior, or serve as the base for projection out in a hostile way towards others. Feeling the humility of repentence is a first step, then, toward healing.  If we don't forgive,ourselves and others, whether deserved or not, we stay hurt and angry. If we forgive, we can heal, accept and move on. To best atone, we must make up for whatever we did wrong in the best way we can. If we hurt someone, we try to help them or, at least, someone else-- to do some good. If we abused property, we try to restore it or build something else decent. If we stole something, we make retribution. And so on. Ultimately, it isn't holding on to all the terribly human evils we know that makes us whole, it's letting go of them in a way which teaches, heals and improves.

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