Atonement and Self-Esteem: Forgiving Yourself Builds You Up

September 30, 2020 Jessica Kaley

This Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, I am focusing on my self-esteem. On this holiest day for the Jewish people, we ask for absolution from wrongs we have done against others, but it is granted only if we first ask those people for forgiveness. Only then can we be forgiven on a higher level. Today I will ask myself for forgiveness for the ways I have wronged myself by allowing poor self-esteem to color my days.

How many of the following self-esteem damaging transgressions can you admit to? Are you ready to ask for your forgiveness and move forward with a promise in your heart to try to do better as you continue to learn how to do better? Your self-esteem will thank you for your atonement.

Atoning for Poor Self-Esteem

Some of the things I'm atoning for to help my self-esteem:

  • I'm sorry for the times when I didn't show you love by allowing you to rest when you were tired.
  • I'm sorry for the times when I didn't practice self-care by making the effort to prepare healthy and nourishing meals for you.
  • I'm sorry for the times when I didn't treat you as my best friend and held you to a higher standard than I hold other people.
  • I'm sorry for the times when I doubted your word only because your truth is different than other people's truth.
  • I'm sorry for the times I tried to fit you into molds defined by other people's values instead of celebrating your uniqueness.
  • I'm sorry for the times I ignored your hopes and dreams and their ability to bring you joy because other people don't hold or appreciate those same aspirations.
  • I'm sorry for the times I didn't defend you by setting better boundaries between you and those who challenge your right to be you.
  • I'm sorry for putting other people's needs before yours and allowing your physical and mental health to take a back seat.
  • I'm sorry for thinking you needed to be perfect right now instead of seeing your imperfections as an exciting opportunity for learning and growth.

Forgive Yourself to Build Self-Esteem

When we are on a journey of self-improvement, like my own to build strong self-esteem, we will be more successful in the long-run if we learn to forgive ourselves for the times that we tried and failed, and for the times when we didn't know that we needed and/or wanted to change or how to make that change happen.

I think of myself as being kind, empathetic and caring to the world. As a part of that world, I deserve no less than I offer to everyone else. I forgive myself for my transgressions, knowing I always do my best with the knowledge and capabilities that I have today, and I will always strive to continue learning and growing so I can do better tomorrow.

What would you like to ask yourself forgiveness for? This sign of self-love, of accepting yourself exactly as you are right now, is a great way to recommit to your own journey to healthy self-esteem.

Share your personal list of transgressions in the comments. I hope this exercise in atonement lightens your heart and gives you a renewed sense of purpose and a determination to make your self-esteem a priority.

APA Reference
Kaley, J. (2020, September 30). Atonement and Self-Esteem: Forgiving Yourself Builds You Up, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Jessica Kaley

Find Jessica on LinkedIn.

Leave a reply