Skip to main content

Healing for Damaged Emotions - A Book to Help Christians Deal with Low Self Esteem and Other Issues

Cari Jean resides in North Dakota, where she works as a freelance writer and blogs at Faith's Mom's Blog.


Damaged Emotions

In the first chapter of his book, Healing for Damaged Emotions, Pastor David Seamands writes, "we preachers have often given people the mistaken idea that the new birth and being filled with the spirit are going to automatically take care of our emotional hang-ups. But this just isn't true." He goes on to say that acceptance of Jesus Christ does not automatically heal all emotional issues and is not a fix-all for personality problems.

Some of the damaged emotions Seamands describes are:

  • a deep sense of unworthiness which includes feelings of anxiety, inadequacy and inferiority
  • a perfectionist complex which includes ideas of never being able to please themselves, God or others
  • a super-sensitive person who has usually been hurt deeply
  • a person filled with fears who constantly struggles with the 'whys' and 'if onlys' of life

Dr. Seamands does give hope that there are "divine repairs" to heal damaged emotions. He emphasizes, though that it takes guidance by the Holy Spirit and actually doing your part. A few things he suggests in becoming proactive in your healing include:

  • Accepting your responsibility in the matter
  • Asking yourself if you want to be healed
  • Forgiving everyone who is involved in your problem (including yourself)

Forgiveness is a huge issue when it comes to healing damaged emotions. Sometimes the cause of damaged emotions comes from failing to receive forgiveness and/or the failure to give forgiveness.

"Satan knows your weaknesses; he understands your infirmities and uses them to great advantages against you." - David Seamands

"Satan knows your weaknesses; he understands your infirmities and uses them to great advantages against you." - David Seamands


Satan uses psychological warfare against us. He strikes fear into our hearts, causes us to doubt and to worry and keeps us feeling guilty. Worst of all though, the enemy causes us to feel worthless knowing that low self-esteem can be deadly.

Four ways low self-esteem is damaging:

  • It prevents us from reaching our fullest potential
  • It destroys our dreams
  • It ruins our relationships
  • It prevents us from getting involved in the Body of Christ

"As he thinketh in his heart, so is he" Proverb 23:7

Dr. Seamands defines self-image as "a whole system of pictures and feelings you have put together about yourself."

Four sources our self-image comes from:

  • The outer world, including family members and early relationships
  • Our inner world, including our senses, capacity to learn, handicaps, etc.
  • Satan who uses our feelings against us
  • God and who He says we are and how He feels about us

So how does one go from having a poor self-image and low self-esteem to one who has a high self worth?

According to Dr. Maurice Wagner, a professional Christian counselor, there are three parts to having a healthy self-image:

  • A sense of belongingness
  • A sense of self-worth and value
  • A sense of being competent
Scroll to Continue

"Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind" Romans 12:2

Three things that are necessary to go from low to high self-esteem:

  • The correction of faulty theology (knowing that belittling yourself is not the same as humility)
  • Developing your worth and value from God (ask yourself questions such as, what right do you have to despise someone God loves so much?)
  • Cooperate with the Holy Spirit (letting God teach you how to love yourself and others)


Results of Damaged Emotions

Some who suffer from damaged emotions tend to have personality distortions such as perfectionism, alienation from your true self and even depression. In his book, Dr. Seamands examines each of these distortions at length.


If you have been hurt in the past and are dealing with unhealed emotions, your tendency to be a perfectionist may be a result. What exactly is a perfectionist? "Perfectionism is a counterfeit for Christian perfection. Instead of making us whole persons in Christ - perfectionism leaves us spiritual Pharisees and emotional neurotics." Dr. Seamands also calls it "the most disturbing emotional problem among evangelical Christians."

Some symptoms of perfectionism include:

  • A constant feeling of never doing well enough - "I ought to do this, I should have done it that way, I could have done better," etc.
  • You are never quite satisfied with yourself and neither is God.
  • Anxiety
  • Legalism - do's, dont's, rules and regulations
  • Anger and resentment
  • Denial

When people continue to strive to be a perfectionist and realize they cannot be one they usually either have a breakaway or a breakdown.

Super You or Real You?

This can also be described as alienation from your true self. The super you is a false image you think you have to be in order to be loved and accepted. When you come into the presence of God during prayer, who do you present yourself as? The Super You or the Real You?

The Super You:

  • Never admits to experiencing certain kinds of feelings, and considers anger a bad feeling
  • Has the idea you need to always get along with everybody and that there should never be conflict between Christians
  • Believes you always have to be happy

Although published in 1981, the book, Healing for Damaged Emotions continues to help those on their healing journey and is still used as a reference in Christian counseling settings.

The book has been translated into 15 languages and has helped millions of readers worldwide.


How can a Christian be depressed, you might ask. Aren't they supposed to have the "joy of the Lord?" Take a look at the following scriptures:

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul?" Psalm 42:5

"It is better for me to die than to live" Jonah 4:3

"My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death" Matthew 26:38

As you can see, there were people who, like David, Jonah and Jesus Himself, experienced depression.

Dr. Seamands stresses that "our failure to deal realistically with ourselves regarding depression is the root cause of much of our depression."

Three reactions that lead to depression:

  • Indecisiveness
  • Anger
  • Injustice

Some ways to deal with depression:

  • Avoid being alone
  • Seek help from others
  • Listen to music (that's not depressing)
  • Be thankful
  • Read the Word of God
  • Rest in the presence of God

However, if you suffer from prolonged depression and cannot come out of it you may need to see your doctor or talk to a therapist.

Healed Helpers

The last chapter of this book is titled, "Healed Helpers." Dr. Seamands states, "Again and again I have been part of this deep healing as God recycles the damages, the pains and the infirmities and then uses them for someone's good and His glory."

He also stresses in this chapter that we do not need to be healed before we can effectively serve Christ. Too many people think they cannot come to God until they "get better." What they don't realize is that they need God to help them get better and that He wants us to come to Him just the way we are. We can also help others who may be having some of the same struggles. God never intended for us to do it on our own.

"God has the ability to take the human hurts and turn them to our good and His glory"

"God has the ability to take the human hurts and turn them to our good and His glory"

Healing for Damaged Emotions Workbook

If you feel the need to go deeper on your journey to emotional healing, there is a workbook available that will help you go through the healing journey step by step.

The workbook will help you to reflect on past hurts, to journal your feelings, and gives examples of prayers to pray. It will also help you gain insight as to why you suffer with such damaged emotions. You can go through it on your own, with a trusted friend or in a small group setting.


Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on June 16, 2011:

Polly - Hi! Thanks so much for your comment and kind words. I know, there was a time we prayed together every night as a family but somehow time got in the way - we really need to get back to that! Be Blessed!

Pollyannalana from US on June 15, 2011:

Hi, long time no see. I was never better than when I walked closest with God and my husband and I had bible study every night, we couldn't wait to get to somehow gets too busy for us. Great hub, I picked you as a winner from the start!


Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on March 08, 2011:

earthbound1974 - thanks so much for your comment. It is essential that our foundation includes having a strong belief in God - I don't know how people do it without Him.

earthbound1974 from Bicol, Philippines on March 07, 2011:

Thanks, Cari. If our foundation includes our strong believe in God, bad things will not weaken our dispositions in life. We'll continue fighting in order to succeed or triumph.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 20, 2011:

BIKTMIA - Thanks so much for sharing your perspective!

BIKTMIA on February 18, 2011:

Happiness being where and with whom that makes your inner you feel good.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on January 26, 2011:

blessed365 - Yes God can! It is so good to spend quality time with God - but for me sometimes the busyness of life seems to get in the way of that! It is amazing that childhood hurts can continue to affect our adult lives but God can heal each and everyone of those hurts!

Vicky C. from New England on January 25, 2011:

Sounds like a great book. I know I have and still struggle with some of these issues that were mentioned and most of it stemmed from childhood hurts. If I don't spend quality time in the presence of God I just will not do good. Worshiping and praying really seems to lift me and I know God has the power to bring me out of anything. Can God? God can!

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on May 20, 2010:

exjwlaurie - thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I can see how being a JW always working for salvation and trying to be perfect could take its toll. I feel sad for all the JW's who are caught in this trap - hopefully one day they will see the light just as you did!

exjwlaurie on May 20, 2010:


Thanks for this wonderful hub with such timely information! You have encapsulated beautifully the most basic struggles we all face today.

I especially related to the area you spoke of as "perfectionism".

Having been a JW for most of my life, we were taught that we must always be "seeking" salvation through "works-based activities".

That was the nature of being a Witness. Works-based salvation. Legalism. Ever striving to be saved, but salvation is never assured for them.

"We must be perfect, just as our Heavenly Father is perfect". That was taken so literally--so you never felt good about yourself. Always missing the mark!

By shining awareness on this issue, you help people! Thank you for such "refreshment" for my soul!

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on May 12, 2010:

kimh039 - thanks for reading and leaving your comment, it's greatly appreciated.

Kim Harris on May 11, 2010:

Cari, thanks for the spiritual perspective. Very clearly presented and well written.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on April 30, 2010:

donotfear - thank you so much for your comment.

Annette Thomas from United States on April 29, 2010:

This is a great hub! So real and true.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on March 31, 2010:

Madison22 - thank you so much for your comment. I think everyone would benefit from reading this book.

Madison from NYC on March 30, 2010:

Cari, I absolutely love this hub! Great summary on the book. One to add on my shelf and read. Thank you!

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on March 29, 2010:

mwatkins - thank you so much for your comment. Be blessed.

mwatkins from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC on March 29, 2010:

Wow, excellent and thought provoking. thank you!

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on March 14, 2010:

cristina327 - thank you very much for your comment. I think sometimes Christians tend to spiritualize everything and it's hard for them to face the reality of certain situations. Blessings to you as well.

Cristina Santander from Manila on March 14, 2010:

Great hub with great thoughts to ponder.I find this hub very realistic, it reveals the real battles in life that must be faced by every believer. I find this hub also very helpful for those struggling with wounded emotions. Thank you for sharing it here at Hubpages. Remain blessed.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on March 08, 2010:

ris8994 - thank you so much for your kind comment.

rls8994 from Mississippi on March 06, 2010:

This was an excellent hub. You gave a very good summary of the book and made some great points.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 26, 2010:

creativeone59 - thank you so much for your kind words. I'm so glad you stopped by!

Benny Faye Ashton Douglass from Gold Canyon, Arizona on February 26, 2010:

Thank you Cari, for a very uplifting and enlightening hub on Healing for Damaged Emotions. I appreciate you and your efforts. Godspeed. creativoene59

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 14, 2010:

James - thanks so much for your comment. I really hope it may be of help to others too.

James A Watkins from Chicago on February 12, 2010:

Thank you for your work here. I hope this helps some folks with their problems. Nicely done.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 03, 2010:

DeBorrah - I always appreciate your comments. It will be a glorious day when we no longer suffer hurts, afflictions, trials and tribulations! But until then...

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 03, 2010:

peacenhim - I'm glad you stumbled onto this one to. It is a great book and has helped me so much in my faith walk. That is a great idea to use it for Teen ministry!

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on February 03, 2010:

Cari Jean, Very insightful hub! You have presented some invaluable helpful information! It is wonderful to know that "Jesus is our redeemer..." As long as He has us on this side of heaven He has us here to learn and improve. Thank you for sharing, Blessings!

peacenhim on February 03, 2010:

This is a great Hub!! Great for Teen Ministry and for Rehab ministry! I'm glad I stumbled onto this one! I'll have to read the book! peace.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 03, 2010:

Healthy Hanna - there are so many issues in life that we have to deal with but it is wonderful to know that Jesus is our redeemer, our healer and restorer.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 03, 2010:

drpastorcarlotta - thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate you stopping in.

Healthy Hanna on February 01, 2010:

What a beautiful post. It is all so true. I offer my prayers to all those who have aching hearts...whatever the reason.

Pastor Dr Carlotta Boles from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC on February 01, 2010:

Love this HUB!!! Yes you can come to God before you are healed!! Come as you are!!! God is the healer!!! GREAT writing! Blessings!!

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 01, 2010:

Lady_E - I'm so glad something positive came for you from reading this hub. It's hard to keep those negative thoughts out of our head, but as you said we have to fill our hearts with good things. Thank you so much for your comment, it really gave me encouragment.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 01, 2010:

Smireles - thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comments. The Holy Spirit can lead but we have to remember to follow!

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 01, 2010:

Storytellersrus - thank you for your thoughtful comment. You are right - those who accept God still have the same struggles. And yes, self-esteem is definitely a Christian value and God wants us to have high self-esteem!

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 01, 2010:

itakins - your comment is heartbreaking. I would really hate to be alive in today's world without knowing and believing in God. I can see how people without Him can so easily succumb to feeling hopelessness and despair. We must continue to pray for lost souls.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 01, 2010:

coffeesnob - I read this book and did the workbook as part of a group counseling session. It really is a great resource. Thank you so much for your comment.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 01, 2010:

Unchained Grace - wow! Your comment has nearly left me speechless. I love how God communicates with us! THANK YOU so much for posting it on your profile, I think there are so many hurting people out there, even Christians who don't really know where to turn. I believe this book is a great way to begin the emotional healing process. Thank you for your encouragement and kind comments.

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 01, 2010:

Ann Nonymous - Doing this review has helped me to realize I should probably go through it again. It takes a lot of work to heal but it is so worth it!

Cari Jean (author) from Bismarck, ND on February 01, 2010:

Pamela99 - you are so right about getting healing as our damaged emotions have an effect on all of our relationships. Thank you so much for your comment.

Elena from London, UK on January 30, 2010:

Wow, this is a very important Hub. Those damaged emotions run deep - as you noted they stop us from developing our full potential.

I found this useful because sometimes I think of negative things. E.g certain things in life that I should have accomplished by now, but haven't... but what your Hub prompts me to do is fill my mind with good things. Cari I have so many motivating books in my bookcase, I hardly read them and I know if I do, It will help.

Thanks for this Hub - It's given me a good push.

Best Wishes.

Sandra Mireles from Texas on January 30, 2010:

Thanks for reminding us that although the Holy Spirit is given to lead and guide us we still have to deal with the very human emotions in our lives. Excellent introduction to this book. Keep hubbing!

Barbara from Stepping past clutter on January 30, 2010:

God acts in our lives whether we accept this or not, if God is in all and is all. Those who accept God in all still have the same struggles. They just work them out in different ways. Thanks for reminding me self-esteem is a Christian value.

itakins from Irl on January 29, 2010:

Cari Jean-

This is really interesting;an eminent Christian Psychiatrist here wrote a while ago that since an ever increasing number of people were no longer accepting God into their lives,the scale of depression and suicide had shot up-she feels the void created by no spiritual focus was filled with so many negative influences-leading people to despair.

Great review and hub.

coffeesnob on January 29, 2010:


Excellent summation of this book. I led a study on this once - very effective in people's lives. Bless you for writing this.

Unchained Grace from Baltimore, MD on January 29, 2010:

Cari, I had a vision of this exact topic last night. It was not God telling me I should write about it. I have just started a new program called, "Spiritual Warfare: Tactical Support Center." Your Hub is a MUST Read and I'd like to add it. You'll see it on my profile. The enemy's PsyOps (Psychological Warfare) is and can be extremely dangerous and I'm glad Pastor Seamands put it together and doubly glad you presented it here!

Ann Nonymous from Virginia on January 29, 2010:

Excellent summary of the book; Makes me want to read it. No, that's not true, makes me realize I NEED to read it! Thanks for posting this hub, Cari, and the very thorough review!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 29, 2010:

This is a very good article and summary of the book. It is so important to get healing or it effects all of your relationships. Spiritual growth as you get fee if new found joy.

Related Articles