Synopses & Reviews
Newly updated with stories from people who have turned to this life-altering book in their time of need, this motivational teaching about what really matters reminds us how we can honor each relationship every day.
Four simple phrases—“Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you”—carry enormous power to mend and nurture our relationships and inner lives. These four phrases and the sentiments they convey provide a path to emotional wellbeing, guiding us through interpersonal difficulties to life with integrity and grace.
Dr. Ira Byock, an international leader in palliative care, explains how we can practice these life-affirming words in our day-to-day lives. Too often we assume that the people we love really know that we love them. Dr. Byock demonstrates the value of “stating the obvious” and provides practical insights into the benefits of letting go of old grudges and toxic emotions. His stories help us to forgive, appreciate, love, and celebrate one another and live life more fully.
Using the Four Things in a wide range of life situations, we can experience emotional healing even in the wake of family strife, personal tragedy, divorce, or in the face of death. With practical wisdom and spiritual power, 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.
Caroline Myss Author of Sacred Contracts, Why People Don't Heal and How They Can, and Anatomy of the Spirit The Four Things That Matter Most is a book of commonsense wisdom that has the power to dynamically change your life. It is a pleasure to recommend a book that encourages you to transform the quality of your life in simple ways that actually work.
Maggie Callanan Coauthor of Final Gifts A tender read I highly recommend. The Four Things That Matter Most offers simple but solid solutions for healing our complex and fragile relationships -- wisdom that will surely enrich our lives.
Larry Dossey, M.D. Author of Healing Beyond the Body, Reinventing Medicine, and Healing Words For anyone who believes that years of therapy are required for transforming relationships with others, this book will come as a pleasant surprise. Great wisdom has always been simple -- that is why it is elusive -- and great wisdom is what this book contains.
Joan Halifax, Ph.D. Author, Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, founder and director of Ojai Foundation, and founder, Upaya Foundation Ira Byock's compassionate and important work in the field of dying has given him the four great treasures of love and freedom that all of us can use throughout our life. This wonderful book opens the doors to these jewels of compassion.
Zorba Paster, M.D. Author of The Longevity Code, host of public radio's Zorba Paster on Your Health, and host of the public television special How to Live a Long, Sweet Life The Four Things That Matter Most provides simple, insightful words and stories that move the heart and the soul. Dr. Byock shows us a graceful way to nurture relationships and heal those that need mending.
"This beautiful book, full of wisdom and warmth, teaches us how to protect and preserve our most valuable possessions--the relationships with those we love. It shows that the things that matter definitely aren’t ‘things,’ and how to empower your life in the right direction."
About the Author
Ira Byock, MD, is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life. His research and writing have helped to define quality of life and quality of care for people living with advanced medical conditions. He has been involved in hospice and palliative care since 1978 and is a founding member and past president of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. From 1996 through 2006, he served as Director for Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Dr. Byock is Chief Medical Officer of the Institute for Human Caring of Providence Health and Services system. From 2003 through July 2013 he directed the palliative care program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Dr. Byock is a Professor of Medicine and Community & Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.
More information is available at IraByock.org.
Table of Contents
Part One: The Four Things
Chapter 1: Saying the Four Things
Chapter 2: The Healing Power of Words
Chapter 3: Completing Relationships
Chapter 4: Transformations
Part Two: Forgiveness
Chapter 5: Loved Ones Live On Inside Us
Chapter 6: Resolving a Legacy of Pain
Chapter 7: The Emotional Economics of Forgiveness
Chapter 8: Extreme Acts of Forgiveness
Chapter 9: Forgiving Yourself
Chapter 10: Living with Uncertainty and Illness
Part Three: Thank You
Chapter 11: Practicing Gratitude
Chapter 12: The Unexpected Grace of Reconnection
Chapter 13: The Family Dynamics of Gratitude
Part Four: I Love You
Chapter 14: Creative Ways of Saying the Four Things
Chapter 15: Loving the Body
Chapter 16: Living Every Day as if It Were Your First -- or Last
Chapter 17: Lives Intertwined with Love
Part Five: Good-bye
Chapter 18: Nothing Left Unsaid
Chapter 19: The Mysterious Magic of Some Good-byes
Chapter 20: Good-byes That Are Gifts Through Time
Chapter 21: Good-byes That Celebrate Life
Afterword: Reflections Before Good-bye