Book Nook Review of Forgiveness by Iyanla Vanzant

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“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I hadn’t thought of forgiveness as an essential component of moving forward until I read Forgiveness by Iyanla Vanzant. Since I selected this book to read, I have been hearing about the importance of forgiveness from other authors concurrent with my reading.

Iyanla Vanzant calls us to recognize all the places in our lives that we need to bring forgiveness to, beginning with ourselves. The book is intended to be worked in exercises to be completed during 30 to 60 minutes on each of 21 days. The work of each day focuses on extending forgiveness to practically every type of relationship we could possibly have.

Each chapter starts out with a “forgiveness story” written by either Iyanla Vanzant or a guest writer. These stories provide personal examples from the writers’ own lives, describing how they came to realize their need to forgive others who they had spent energy resenting. Following each chapter’s forgiveness story are the forgiveness exercises.

The forgiveness exercises begin with a forgiveness prayer, followed by an exercise of writing personalized forgiveness statements tailored to the individual reader’s unique forgiveness needs in their own relationships, all leading up to the tapping sequences. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT, or tapping)  can be thought of as acupuncture sans-needles, according to Vanzant. The idea in this case is to tap (with your fingers) on specific meridian points to clear out blocked energy attributed to negative thoughts born of unforgiveness.

Forgiveness is largely set up in a workbook format. I must admit that although I read the book summary before choosing to read it, I was surprised by how many exercises there were to complete. Having had very minimal previous exposure to tapping, I personally found the heavy reliance on tapping in the workbook portions to be overwhelming.

For those of us who are tapping newbies, the book refers us to Lindsay Kenny’s website to review her manual and videos. I visited the website, but found the manual to be really long and honestly just wanted to finish my current book. I think it might have been worthwhile to include a more comprehensive overview of the actual tapping process for the complete beginner within this book, so that it could stand on its own as a start to finish guide for someone looking to feel confident about tapping along with the workbook exercises.

I also found the workbook exercises to be cumbersome to complete since all the materials needed to do one exercise were not in one place. There is a page of about 10 reminders on the tapping process before each exercise which is helpful, but the reader is also asked to refer back to a page from the beginning of the book containing an “Emotional Trigger List” before the start of each tapping session. Since I didn’t really know what I was doing with the tapping, I also had to refer back to a page in the beginning of the book with a picture of the tapping meridian points.

In addition to that, I didn’t really understand what statements to use with the tapping. There are three bonus “Tapping Scripts” which provide the exact words to go along with the tapping, but even with these examples I still didn’t feel equipped to write out my own tapping scripts for the other more free-form tapping exercises. I probably needed to read a whole other book on tapping before reading this book.

While I enjoyed the forgiveness stories preceding each tapping exercise, when I first started reading the book I was surprised that the chapters didn’t contain more general information on the forgiveness issues people might have with their mother, father, partner, etc. The stories were well-written and provided good insights, but I was after more generalizable statements about the different types of relationships and their common issues. While some of the chapters addressed more generalized issues, not all did.

I really liked the forgiveness prayers at the beginning of each chapter, and found writing the forgiveness statements to be fun and therapeutic. This book is probably great for someone who is already familiar with tapping. If you are new to tapping, you will likely still enjoy reading the text, just be prepared to do some tapping research on your own to help you through the exercises.

I am personally looking forward to learning more about tapping, and might revisit the exercises in this book again once I have gained some more familiarity and confidence with tapping.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

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