Being Human Is Hard: Choose Forgiveness

Christy Heacock, PhD

Being Human Is Hard: Choose Forgiveness

This is an excellent and well-written forgiveness book. I love the title - because life IS hard and that’s why we need forgiveness - and I love how Christy Heacock weaves this theme through the book. I love the stories - don't skip over them. They don’t just illustrate the author’s points, they add many valuable teachings. And I love the author's insights. I’ve been a forgiveness teacher and coach for over 20 years, which is to say I’ve read many forgiveness books. Yet, this one is shooting to the top of the short list of books I consider the most valuable. I will be recommending it to my students, clients and readers. It not only imparts a clear understanding of what forgiveness is, but also what it takes to achieve forgiveness. (Eileen Barker, Founder,

It’s hard to be human. We’re always messing up, making mistakes, offending and being offended. How do we stop feeling angry and bitter about the painful things that happen to us and deal with people who hurt us? How can we live with regrets and failures and attain peace of mind? The answer: choose forgiveness.

Genuine, heart-felt forgiveness produces personal well-being, improved relationships, growth and learning. It lightens our burdens, cleanses our hearts, and liberates us from what may feel like a personal prison. Choosing to forgive is an important first step, but deeply and emotionally forgiving a hurtful event takes the power of 4Cs: Connections, Courage, Compassion, and Creativity.

In Being Human is Hard: Choose Forgiveness, Dr. Chris Heacock, research psychologist and educator, explains the 4Cs through compelling stories from people with diverse backgrounds and spiritual beliefs who forgave painful offenses, from murder, torture, and racial injustice to hurtful experiences with family, friends and employers. She combines research from the social sciences with the wisdom of the world’s religions and her own personal experience to illuminate the transformative process of moving from victim to forgiveness hero.

Christy Heacock’s narrative self-book Being Human Is Hard conveys the power and possibility of forgiveness. Forgiveness, according to the book, is a universal virtue; all world religions extol its goodness. But in everyday life, many people struggle to embrace the idea, let alone practice it. The book introduces thirteen forgiveness heroes—people from a range of religions, backgrounds, and genders—who walked the road of forgiveness. Their stories are inspiring, empowering, and challenging. Each faced high stakes—including oppression in Palestine, systematic racism on an American Indian reservation, and an abusive childhood—and did the difficult inner and outer work of forgiving. 

The book uses an approachable, compelling, qualitative research method to glean themes from its narratives. All the stories, the book shows, involve connections, courage, compassion, and creativity on the path to forgiveness. The book showcases the individuality of each story, but it leans into common patterns to equip those hoping to engage in their own forgiveness; for instance, all of the stories involve a role model who helped guide the focal person to forgiveness. The patterns are helpful; this self-help approach is inviting without being dictatorial, and is marked by soul-deep compassion for everyone, hero or otherwise, in the narratives. 

Shared with academic detachment, the narratives take center stage, letting each person speak for themselves. This complements the book’s direct, practical teachings for the mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational work that forgiveness involves. It addresses key topics like creating appropriate boundaries and the humility and necessity of self-forgiveness. It helps people embrace learning so that they can build the awareness they need to make choices that honor themselves and others. 

As it moves from introducing themes toward explanations of the continual head and heart work involved in forgiveness, this progressive book manages to emphasize its themes throughout. It addresses common misconceptions about forgiveness, both through the stories and struggles of its narrators and through more direct instruction. It shows that true forgiveness doesn’t sacrifice justice and does not ignore or excuse wrongdoing, and advocates for a clear understanding of what happened, without getting trapped in blame. It shows the power of self honoring humility, too - a place of courage not controlled by fear, avoidance, or revenge. And it eschews any idea that forgiveness is weak, instead showing it to be a path of deep, life-altering courage. Being Human Is Hard is a healing self-help book that equips people to choose to forgive. MELISSA WUSKE (October 26, 2021)

Being Human Is Hard: Choose Forgiveness is available in print and kindle versions from Amazon.

About The Author

Christy Heacock, PhD, is a research psychologist and educator who has personally experienced the transformative power of forgiveness. Her work weaves together wisdom from the world’s religions and wisdom traditions with neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Chris has been married 37 years to her husband Roger and has two adult daughters and a stepson. She enjoys bicycling, hiking, singing, playing the piano, traveling, and lifelong learning.

You can learn more about Dr. Christy Heacock by visiting her website and via LinkedIn

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