“Mortification” can refer to several different concepts depending on the context in which it is used. Here are two common meanings:
- Psychological or emotional distress: In psychology, “mortification” refers to a state of intense humiliation, embarrassment, or shame. It occurs when a person experiences a significant blow to their self-esteem or suffers a deep sense of guilt or regret. This feeling of mortification often arises from public exposure of a personal failing, a mistake, or an event that challenges one’s self-image or social standing.
- Religious or spiritual practice: In a religious or spiritual context, “mortification” is the deliberate act of self-denial, self-discipline, or self-punishment. It involves suppressing or renouncing worldly desires, pleasures, or physical needs as a means of achieving spiritual growth, purification, or penance. Examples of mortification practices can include fasting, abstaining from certain activities or indulgences, or engaging in acts of physical discomfort or self-inflicted pain.
It’s important to note that while the term “mortification” may have negative connotations, particularly when associated with psychological distress, in certain religious or spiritual traditions, it can be seen as a positive and transformative practice aimed at cultivating discipline, humility, and spiritual growth.
© Linda C J Turner