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I’ve been reading ‘Everyone’ by Philippa Perry

A few years ago, I read psychotherapist Philippa Perry’s How to Stay Sane. I thought the writing was good but that the book was too practical and less analytical than I had hoped it would be.

Recently, I’ve read this new book—which, for brevity, I’ll call Everyone—and I enjoyed it much more. Relationships are the book’s focus, including social relationships, those in the workplace, and those within families. Perry advises on valuable techniques for getting the best out of interactions and illustrates many of her concepts through advice related to letters from readers.

The advice in this book feels grounded. It is neither earth-shattering nor new, yet the book is an easy read which manages to be both comforting and challenging. I enjoyed spending time with it.

Some quotations:

There’s a difference between thoughts and thinking. You’ll have thousands of thoughts a day. Latching on to a thought turns it into thinking; you fertilise it. So, latch on to the good ones and let the others float by.

Putting a feeling into words is what we call in therapy ‘processing feelings’. When you can calmly talk about how you feel you have control of the feeling, rather than the feeling having control of you. If we don’t get into the habit of doing this, we will continue to act out the feeling, or hold it in, where it might burn away at us.

Often we can fall into the trap of interpreting behaviour by what it would mean if we did whatever the other person is doing. Someone else’s behaviour has a different meaning from what it would mean if you did it.

As we are in charge of ourselves, rather than other people, if we want something to change, it is our responsibility to change ourselves. Others will respond to that change or they won’t, and that is not within our control.

Sometimes other people are annoying and awful, and sometimes they are simply approaching life differently to us. If we don’t learn to cope with difference, either we’re fighting the whole time or we collapse and lose our sense of self, consumed by what others want of us.

This post was filed under: Post-a-day 2023, What I've Been Reading, .

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