chapter 5. Calm

The Catastrophe You Fear Will Happen has Already Happened

Many of us are daily tortured by a feeling of imminent catastrophe. Something terrible seems about to happen to us: – We’re going to be abandoned – We’re going to be…

chapter 2. Work

The Importance of Maslow's Pyramid of Needs

One of the most legendary ideas in the history of psychology is located in an unassuming triangle divided into five sections referred to universally simply as ‘Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs’.This profoundly…

chapter 1. Relationships

Why We Need to Feel Heard

One of our deepest longings – deeper than we even perhaps recognise day to to day – is that other people should acknowledge certain of our feelings. We want that –…

chapter 5. Calm

Spirituality for People who Hate Spirituality

The word spirituality has a capacity to divide people like few others. For some, it’s an innately beautiful touchstone, the designator of a special kind of experience that is so valuable,…

chapter 3. Self-Knowledge

When Do You Know You Are Emotionally Mature? 26 Suggestions

You realise that most of the bad behaviour of other people really comes down to fear and anxiety – rather than, as it is generally easier to presume, nastiness or idiocy.…

chapter 1. Relationships

The Problem of Sexual Shame

We have collectively grown highly attuned to the problems associated with a lack of shame around sex: with a decadent culture in which it seems that everything goes, where the atmosphere…

chapter 2. Work

On the Loss of Reputation

What is reputation?Reputation might be defined as the claim that one can make on the goodwill of strangers; it is what your name will mean to those who don’t know you,…

chapter 1. Relationships

Whether or not to have Children

Modern societies are pretty much in agreement on this score: having children is one of the most meaningful and delightful moves anyone can make. Couples who do not – for whatever…

chapter 1. Relationships

Taking the Pressure off Love

It can feel very weird, and a bit threatening, to talk about taking the pressure off a relationship. Our collective, inherited Romantic culture likes to imagine functioning couples doing more or…

chapter 1. Relationships

A Pledge for Lovers

The surest indicator of the success of a relationship is not whether or not there are arguments, moments of fury, stretches of loneliness or incidents of betrayal. It is, quite simply,…

chapter 1. Relationships

Five Questions to Ask of Bad Behaviour

People around us often behave rather badly – and when they do, we tend to rush in with some very punitive explanations: they’re trying to hurt us, they’re deliberately attempting to…

chapter 1. Relationships

The Art of Complaining

Complaining carries such negative connotations, it can be hard to remember that there are better and worse ways of doing it – and indeed, hard to realise that an essential ingredient…

chapter 1. Relationships

The Challenges of Communication

We can all – humblingly – imagine how true adults in a relationship would ideally communicate. They would understand their own moods clearly, speak with confidence but without anger or bitterness,…

chapter 1. Relationships

A Projection Exercise for Couples

It’s a deep and powerful feature of our minds that we quickly interpret what’s happening in a situation, on the basis of a few slight clues. But, without realising it, we…

chapter 1. Relationships

A New Ritual: The Morning and Evening Kiss

One of the constantly surprising aspects of relationships is just how much reassurance we need to believe that we are actively wanted – and, equally, how easy it is to forget…

chapter 3. Self-Knowledge

Sharing Our Early Wounds

Part One: What Happened? Necessarily, there were things that went wrong in childhood: our parents were imperfect; there were difficult situations we were exposed to; there were problems we had to…

chapter 5. Calm

There is Always a Plan B

We grow up – inevitably – with a strong attachment to a plan A, that is, an idea of how our lives will go and what we need to do to…

chapter 3. Self-Knowledge

On Knowing Who One Is

Many of us are wandering the earth, accomplished in many ways, capable of fulfilment at points, but with a fundamental wound that stops us from becoming who we might be: we…