Amoris Laetitia 107: Forgiving Ourselves

amoris laetitia memeA third section on forgiveness:

107. Today we recognize that being able to forgive others implies the liberating experience of understanding and forgiving ourselves. Often our mistakes, or criticism we have received from loved ones, can lead to a loss of self-esteem. We become distant from others, avoiding affection and fearful in our interpersonal relationships. Blaming others becomes falsely reassuring. We need to learn to pray over our past history, to accept ourselves, to learn how to live with our limitations, and even to forgive ourselves, in order to have this same attitude towards others.

In some circles, self-esteem is criticized and misunderstood as self-indulgent. In my experience, self-indulgent people have the lowest self-esteem. Bullies and narcissists act as they do, placing themselves at the center of the known universe mainly because they suffer a great interior anguish. People who have forgiven themselves are more likely to exhibit great courage and personal sacrifice in the love of others. They are also practiced in the art of forgiveness, as Pope Francis suggests here.

For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Amoris Laetitia 107: Forgiving Ourselves

  1. Liam says:

    Self-esteem is a deeply equivocal term, unfortunately. It’s often confused with confidence, for example. More importantly, there is a great division about understanding its nature and etiology: psychology typically emphasizes it as something that is largely borne from within, whereas sociology typically emphasizes how it arises (or fails to arise) in socialization, as something that is much more of a social construct than psychology admits. (When you hear someone spout the popular bromide, “you can’t love anyone else if you don’t love yourself”, you are hearing someone’s who’s not really considered the social construction of self-esteem. I’ve known for a long time that there are plenty of people who have fraught self-esteem and self-love but who actually do really and healthfully love others, impossible as it may seem to many who’ve been taught that just cannot be.)

    • Todd says:

      I think your analysis is quite accurate. Confidence strikes me as something that a person feels in part from the esteem of others. In many people, confidence is learned, if not earned.

      • Liam says:

        I should confess a bias here about psychology. I grew up in a family with a child (7 years older than I am) who had special cognitive-emotional needs for which proper diagnoses and treatment were not yet available. That didn’t stop psychologists. My family learned to be wary of the relative lack of epistemic humility within the psychological profession and to make sure to balance it with consultation with neurology and sociology. It was far from perfect, but it’s one reason I am especially wary of priest-psychologists.

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