Four simple phrases -- "Please forgive me," "I forgive you," "Thank you," and "I love you" -- carry enormous power. In many ways, they contain the most powerful words in our language. These four phrases provide us with a clear path to emotional wellness; they guide us through the thickets of interpersonal difficulties to a conscious way of living that is full of integrity and grace.
In The Four Things That Matter Most, Dr. Ira Byock, an international leader in palliative care, teaches us how to practice these life-affirming words in our day-to-day lives. Too often we assume that the people we love really know we love them. Dr. Byock reveals the value of stating the obvious and provides insights into how we burden ourselves by hanging on to old grudges unconsciously and unnecessarily. He shows us how to avoid living with those awkward silences and uncomfortable issues that distance us from the people we love and erode our sense of well-being and joy. His insights and stories help us to forgive, appreciate, love, and celebrate one another more fully.
The inspiring stories in The Four Things That Matter Most demonstrate the usefulness of the Four Things in a wide range of life situations. They also show that a degree of emotional healing is always possible and that we can experience a sense of wholeness even in the wake of family strife, personal tragedy, divorce, or in the face of death. With practical wisdom and spiritual punch, The Four Things That Matter Most gives us the language and guidance to honor and experience what really matters most in our lives every day.
Ira Byock, M.D., is a leading palliative care physician and longtime public advocate for improving care through the end of life. He is past president of the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and cofounder of Life's End Institute: Missoula Demonstration Project, Inc., a community-based research and quality improvement organization focused on end-of-life experience and care. He heads the national Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care program for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and a faculty member of Dartmouth School of Medicine. More information is available on www.TheFourThings.org.