Sincerity, or the ability to “be yourself,” helps individuals overcome all kinds of difficulties in life. The ability to forgive—overcome offensive feelings or challenging life circumstances toward the person who caused the harm—also contributes to mental health. Despite the importance of these phenomena for personality psychology research, little is known about their relationship. In contrast to the sparse research on its connection to other positive personality phenomena, research into forgiveness in Russian personality psychology is just beginning.
No one has previously studied the relationship between stress levels and forgiveness, simply as a moral virtue or sincerity. Professor Sofya Nartova-Bochaver, from the Department of Social Sciences at the Higher School of Economics (HSE), collaborated with Violetta Park to study how stress affects forgiveness and sincerity in a person’s character. The researchers asked 140 young men and women between the ages of 16 and 40 to determine the association.
Respondents belonged to different groups when it came to the amount of stress they experienced. They include relatively affluent people (students living in a teacher training institution in Moscow), groups dealing with chronic stress from severe trauma with permanent effects (patients in rehabilitation centers for severe spinal injuries), and people from Moscow Students at an international classical university who experience the daily stress of studying. In this study, a standardized questionnaire was used.
According to research, those who experience chronic stress often show their truest self, with generally wealthy patients having average results, and groups experiencing daily stress having the lowest results, and the ability to forgive follows the same pattern.
The researchers used the post-traumatic growth effect to explain the high tendency to forgive in representatives of the chronically stressed group. Although these people face very serious life situations — they are physically dependent on others; their normal bodily sensations have changed and many abilities have been lost — they are more likely to discover their true purpose in life and their most important value. They feel “more like themselves” and are able to ignore life’s multiple misfortunes and imperfections through forgiveness in order to move on.
Representatives of the “relatively wealthy” group are easily attuned to themselves and the world, have a moderate amount of authenticity, and are willing to forgive others, themselves, and situations that arise in their lives. The ability to forgive and levels of authenticity are lowest among the everyday stress groups. May be Due to the “hidden” and “unimportant” nature of daily troubles, these people are unaware of their daily stress until their response to daily stress is at its peak. This is why those who think they can handle daily stress well Actually exhausted and becoming too demanding of myself and others.
The researchers also looked at the relationship between authenticity and forgiveness, depending on stress levels. These phenomena are generally positively correlated: people who tend to be compassionate and forgiving of others or under adverse life conditions are more likely to feel the authenticity of their own personality; however, the strength of this correlation varies with stress.
In the chronically stressed cohort, authenticity and forgiveness had little to do; instead, they appeared to develop in parallel. For the relatively affluent and those under daily stress, forgiveness of oneself has become the most important condition for experiencing authenticity, but only in the daily stress cohort did researchers find the importance of forgiving life circumstances and events to be significant. high. The more developed the ability to forgive oneself and the circumstances of life, coupled with the greater willingness to forget revenge or restore justice, the more real and realistic people’s lives become.
Scholars have concluded that the ability to forgive does contribute to feelings of sincerity, but the factors that cause it may change under different stress levels and types of stress.
“In rapidly changing, highly ambiguous conditions, it is extremely important to have a wide range of life skills and personality qualities, of which the ability to forgive others is undoubtedly a must,” said lead researcher Sofia Natova-Bochavel at the School of Psychology. indispensable”.