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 3. 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 3. 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 3. 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 3. 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 3. 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 3. 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 3. 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 4. Self

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 4. Self

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 4. Self

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…

chapter 2. Work

Career Therapy

There are few questions harder or lonelier than: ‘what should I do with the rest of my working life?’. We are often simply meant to know the answer – and a…

chapter 4. Self

Trauma and How to Overcome It

Psychological trauma can be defined as a negative event so overwhelming that we cannot properly understand, process or move on from it – but, and this is the devilish aspect to…

chapter 4. Self

How to Choose A Good Present

One of the reasons it can be so hard to buy other adults presents is that we haven’t at some level quite factored in that we are now all grown-ups. Presents…

chapter 3. Relationships

How to Love

One of the great intellectual puzzles that daily life forces all of us to consider on a slightly too regular basis is: ‘Why are other people so awful? How come they…

chapter 4. Self

The Benefit of Analogies

One of the most striking capacities of the human mind is our ability to get clearer about ideas that might otherwise have been vague or hard to grasp via the process…

chapter 5. Culture

The Value of Reading Things We Disagree with

Reading has always had a central and prestigious place in our understanding of how we can develop our minds. The more we read, we’re told, the cleverer we stand to be.…

chapter 4. Self

Why We Need Moments of Mad Thinking

We banish a great many thoughts from our minds on the grounds that they are, as we put it, ‘mad’. Some of them evidently are: too mean, flawed, absurd or petty…