By Katalin Karolyi, Communications Officer of The Forgiveness Project, 19 December 2018

As we're reaching the end of 2018, we're counting down from 10 to 1 our most popular social media stories from this year. From dealing with online trolls or disagreeing better at the Christmas table to helping a grieving friend, there's something to take away from each of these stories.

10. Saving lives through hope

Father Gregory Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. His powerful words highlight the root problem of gang violence: "Gang violence is about a lethal absence of hope. Nobody has ever met a hopeful kid who joined a gang."

Sarah Interviews Father Gregory Boyle

"If you're a stranger to your own wound, then you're gonna be tempted to despise the wounded." - Father Gregory Boyle Sarah Silverman sits down with Father Gregory Boyle to talk about his work with Homeboy Industries. #ILYAmerica

Posted by I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman on Monday, 25 December 2017

9. Making meaning

Rashon and Donte were the victims of racial profiling when police arrested them in a Philadelphia cafe. Even though they were publicly shamed and had to spend hours in jail, the two men didn't respond with bitterness. Instead, they used the situation to make something positive come of it. Would you have done the same?

"Rather than spending time, money, and resources to engage in a potentially adversarial process, Rashon Nelson and Donte...

Posted by The Forgiveness Project on Saturday, 5 May 2018

8. Let's talk about forgiveness

We believe that stories have the power to shift young people's mindset and to transform how they feel about themselves and others. So why not start discussing forgiveness with them by means of real life stories? 

Natalia Aggiano's story

Watch the first film from our brand new set of Philosophy for Children (P4C) Resources exploring forgiveness and related concepts through real life stories. This story is of Natalia Aggiano whose mother was brutally murdered by her father after 30 years of bullying and abuse. Natalia eventually made contact with her father whilst he was in prison and offered him her forgiveness. Download our free resources now and share them widely with your friends, colleagues and most importantly young people.

Posted by The Forgiveness Project on Monday, 5 March 2018

7. How to deal with online trolls

This is a must read on how to disarm online trolls through compassion. This twitter user, who described himself as a child abuse victim, was trying to take out his own pain on comedian Sarah Silverman. However, Sarah saw through his hurtful comment and met his suffering with exceptional compassion. If only all of us were able to respond this way.

"Instead of ignoring the insult, or responding with equal aggression, Sarah Silverman took the opportunity to test the neutralizing impact of unexpected love."

Posted by The Forgiveness Project on Saturday, 1 December 2018

6. What to do with your anger

There are so many reasons why we might find ourselves seething with anger. It's probably not an exaggeration to say that no one is immune to it; anger will show up at some point in our lives whether we like it or not. The only question is what we do with it once it knocks on our door.

"We need to turn our anger into something positive rather than letting it leak into nearly every interaction, poisoning our ability to create anything new."

Posted by The Forgiveness Project on Wednesday, 7 March 2018

5. How to help a grieving friend

It can be difficult to find the right words to comfort a grieving friend. While being able to show empathy is key, we are cautioned against falling into the habit of exhibiting "conversational narcissism", the tendency to insert ourselves into a conversation, as this might cause further distress instead of helping the person you're trying to comfort.

"What all of these people needed was for me to hear them and acknowledge what they were going through. Instead, I forced them to listen to me and acknowledge me."

Posted by The Forgiveness Project on Sunday, 2 December 2018

4. Christmas dinner

If you're planning on spending this Christmas with your extended family, whom otherwise you haven't seen much of this year, then you might want to keep these points in mind in order to "disagree better" at the Christmas table. 

"To disagree better, which will lead to better conversations and happier outcomes, Graham came up with these seven levels of a disagreement hierarchy."

Posted by The Forgiveness Project on Thursday, 10 May 2018

3. Forgiving = Forgetting?

When it comes to genocide, many of us would be on the opinion that it's an unforgivable atrocity. Yet, Kemal Pervanic, a survivor of the Omarska concentration camp in Bosnia, has ended up embracing life without feeling hatred towards his captors. Regardless of whether we would forgive in a similar situation or not, it's important more than ever to remember how easy it is to plant hate in people's hearts and minds and that we need to do everything in our power to counter hate with compassion and peaceful dialogues.

"Despite my trauma, I wasn’t filled with hatred. I didn’t decide not to hate because I’m a good person, I decided not to...

Posted by The Forgiveness Project on Thursday, 25 January 2018

2. Invincible Summer

Albert Camus, the French philosopher, has an uplifting message for all us this Winter. If you're in a situation where you find it difficult to see the light end of the tunnel, these words from Camus might give you some comfort.

"In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer." - Albert Camus

Posted by The Forgiveness Project on Monday, 1 October 2018

1. What does empathy look like?

Whether you like lettuce or not, Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, paints a vivid picture of how far empathy can take you.

What does empathy look like? Here's how Thich Nhat Hanh describes it.

Posted by The Forgiveness Project on Friday, 2 February 2018

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