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StorkNet's Bookshelf
Dare to Forgive
by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.

In Dare 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 forgiveness.

He starts 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.

"To understand 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."

Built upon 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.

Daring to 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."

Dare To Forgive covers many aspects of forgiveness, as well as provides specific examples that are relevant to our lives. The book includes:

PART ONE: 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

PART TWO: 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 Do
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

A particularly 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.

Dr. Hallowell's 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…You will help yourself if you let yourself know that you cannot change the past by being angry about it."

Today's world 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.

A 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 since 1983.

Dr. Hallowell 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.

From corporate 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 public speaker.

Dr. Hallowell lives in the Boston area with his wife, Sue, a social worker, and their three children.

Visit Dr. Hallowell at and check out StorkNet's guest interview with Dr. Hallowell!

To Purchase:
   • Dare to Forgive at
   • Dare to Forgive at Amazon UK
   • Dare to Forgive at Amazon Canada


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