If we are going to have relationships, we're going to have trouble. We are all human and certainly not perfect, after all. Is there hope for repairing relationships?
Shaler gives a enthusiastic “yes.” She addresses several issues that hinder healthy relationships and gives good strategy for repair. She is even convinced that we can unlearn bad habits that have damaged relationships in the past.
My favorite chapter is the one on insecurity. My insecurity sabotaged so many of my friendships as a teen. I like how Shaler encourages us to see our identity in Christ, reminding ourselves what Scripture says about us. She reminds us we are to seek God's praise, not that of humans and we should be more concerned about what God thinks about us than people. I wish I had had this teaching when I was a teen.
Shaler writes about disappointment, taking offense, not talking straight, blaming, experiencing envy, fear, judging, letting the past rule, seeking revenge, and more. She includes stories illustrating the problem, practical steps to take, questions for journaling, and a written prayer for each topic.
I found some of her suggestions surprising. Developing empathy is essential for not being susceptible to easily taking offense. Stop trying to fix people and their circumstances is suggested to help curtail judging. Accepting responsibility is one aspect of ending the blame game, as is confronting blamers. Now that is a scary strategy to me.
I recommend this book to readers who want to have healthy relationships. It is not a cure all book nor is the strategy included easy. Forgiving and setting boundaries might take prayerful effort, for example. Shaler reminds us that good relationships are worth the work.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Dr. Laurel Shaler is a national certified counselor and licensed social worker. She is an associate professor at Liberty University, where she serves as the Director of the Master of Arts in Professional Counseling program. She and her husband have one daughter and live in South Carolina. You can find out more at https://www.drlaurelshaler.com/.
Moody Press, 176 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.