To Forgive, Dr. Hallowell addresses one of the most thorny
issues of everyday life - how do we, and why should we, forgive?
From the small disagreements we have regularly, to the tragedies
of divorce, estrangement, even murder, Dr. Hallowell writes with
optimism, warmth and compassion about the whys and how-tos of
from the premise that truly forgiving others is very hard to do.
In fact, most of our social structures are set up to punish, rather
than to forgive, making the task of forgiveness all that much
more difficult, but also that much more effective.
forgiveness," writes Hallowell, "you must first understand
what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not turning the other
cheek. Forgiveness is not running away. Forgiving someone does
not mean that you condone what the person has done, nor does it
mean that you invite them to do it again. It doesn't mean that
you don't want the offending person to be punished. It doesn't
mean that you forget the offense, nor does it mean that by forgiving
you tacitly invite bad things to happen again. It doesn't mean
that you won't defend yourself.
So what does
it mean? Forgiveness is one of those words that we assume we can
define, but when asked we stumble. Before you read on, try it
yourself. How would you define forgiveness? The dictionary can
help. The American Heritage College dictionary defines 'forgive'
as, 'To renounce anger or resentment against.' It goes back to
a Greek root word that means 'to set free,' as in freeing a slave.
Ironically, when we forgive, the slave we free is ourselves. We
free ourselves from being slaves to our own hatred."
the premise that the art, or skill, of forgiveness takes practice,
Dr. Hallowell introduces the reader to four concepts that can
guide one through the process of forgiving. His concepts are structured
enough to provide guidance, but flexible enough to be useful across
a wide range of potential situations. He then illuminates his
ideas with stories from people he knows in order to illustrate
both how to forgive and the power of forgiveness.
forgive has many advantages, not the least of which is health
benefits. "Learning how to forgive ranks near the top of
practical steps you can take to improve your life, your physical
health and your emotional health
it's also freeing. When
you forgive, you free yourself from mind-forged manacles. You
start to derive benefits as soon as you gain release from the
anger and resentment that have held you down."
To Forgive covers many aspects of forgiveness, as well
as provides specific examples that are relevant to our lives.
The book includes:
What is Forgiveness?
Chapter 1: Forgiveness Is a Gift You Give to Yourself
Chapter 2: Forgiveness Detoxifies Hurt and Hatred
Chapter 3: Forgiveness Sets You Free
Chapter 4: Forgiveness Improves Your Health
Chapter 5: Forgiveness Is Brave
How Forgiving Are You? A Self-Assessment Quiz
How to Forgive
Chapter 6: How to Forgive: A Practical Method
Chapter 7: Everyday Forgiveness
Chapter 8: Forgiving Yourself
Chapter 9: How Not to Take It Personally
Chapter 10: A Lover's Quarrel, Or, When They Know Not What They
Chapter 11: Forgiving Your Ex
Chapter 12: Forgiving Those Who Hurt Us
and Who Won't Apologize
Chapter 13: What to Do When Forgiveness Just Won't Come
Chapter 14: A Family Feud
Chapter 15: Beware of What's Called Justice
Chapter 16: Forgiving a Betrayer
Chapter 17: Loss of Control: The Hidden Obstacle to Forgiveness
Chapter 18: The Greatest Challenge
Conclusion: Now That We Must, Can We? A Global Perspective
interesting section of the book deals with forgiveness and divorce.
Dr. Hallowell writes about the psychological "hook"
that keeps "digging into us as we keep feeling the pangs
of anger and resentment toward the other person. We keep wishing
them ill, imagining their demise or simply tearing them down in
our inner monologue, all the while overlooking that our anger
is driving the hook deeper and deeper not into them, but into
us." With discussion and examples, he shows why it is important
to "flatten" this hook and move on.
wisdom throughout the book is both engaging and thought-provoking.
He encourages us to look deeper and not just accept conventional
wisdom. For example, in one section he writes, "A teacher
of mine once told me, "The opposite of love is not hatred.
The opposite of love is indifference." Hatred keeps us involved
with a person, an event, a group, something from the past, whatever
it might be. Where there is hatred, there is involvement and connection
will help yourself if you let yourself know that you cannot change
the past by being angry about it."
demands that we all learn and practice the art of forgiveness,
for if we do not, a person, or people bent on vengeance will destroy
us all. In Dare
To Forgive, Dr. Hallowell provides the tools and encouragement
we all need to begin the journey.
graduate of Harvard College and Tulane School of Medicine, Dr.
Hallowell is a child and adult psychiatrist and the founder of
The Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Sudbury,
MA. He has also been on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School
is an expert at offering practical ways to approach some of life's
most difficult challenges. He is the author of the national bestseller,
Driven to Distraction, and Answers to Distraction, both of which
address attention deficit disorder in children and adults.
He has also
written books addressing emotional issues such as worry (Worry
and When You Worry About the Child You Love), raising happy children
(The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness), the importance of connection
in today's world (Connect), and finding meaning in everyday life
and love (Human Moments), among others.
audiences to parent-teacher workshops, people who listen to Dr.
Hallowell come away stimulated, inspired, amused and always better
informed. He is a charismatic speaker, combining the knowledge
of a Harvard instructor with the warm, easy manner of an experienced
lives in the Boston area with his wife, Sue, a social worker,
and their three children.
Hallowell at http://www.drhallowell.com and check out StorkNet's guest interview with Dr. Hallowell!
• Dare to Forgive at Amazon.com
• Dare to Forgive at Amazon UK
• Dare to Forgive at Amazon Canada