Here are a few that reached into my confused, tormented, scrambled mind and heart at various points, and stuck, forever:
I was in deep despair about a romance, alone in a new city. I had experienced an obsessive, unrequited love for several continuous years in my early youth (e.g., “Maybe he’ll appear around the next corner? Please, please.”) This book told me how to BREAK THE HABIT OF SADNESS. Actions you can take every day, as if easing from an addiction. The Book of Hope, Helen A. DeRosis and Victoria Y. Pellegrino.
Choose a Good Love Partner
Almost forever, I mulled and mulled: What is a good love? How do you know you have a good love going? I knew that great chemistry is NOT the best clue.
Peck told me: With a good partner, you will GROW, spiritually, intellectually. They will provide a foundation and partnership for CHANGE, for GROWING UP. A bad partner will fear your change, your new ideas, your ventures even into new, petty daily habits. With a good partner, you can “be yourself” without a lot of censorship. You tolerate and adapt to each other. Want to learn guitar? Okay, go ahead. Want a new career? Okay, I’ll support you. Want to go vegan? Let’s plan a path that works for both of us. Neither person is PUT INTO SERVICE of the other so much that their soul feels crushed. The Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck.
Be Creative, Explore
It is okay to be HIGHLY IMAGINATIVE and UNCONVENTIONAL. Society won’t break. (Anyway, you ARE society.) You don’t need to be destructive or angry about conventions you don’t like (e.g., girdles for women, neckties for men). Drop it, and see what happens. Create YOU and YOUR STYLE. Don’t live in fear of “what others think.” (They might be over-compromised, conforming in ways they don’t like.) Compromise when you need a trade-off, if you can tolerate it (dress for a job, clean up for a romance, show up for a community you want to join). The Fan Man, William Kotzwinkle (a novel).
Treat Kids Like People
I grew up with authoritarian parents. Control and order were more important than fun, and warmth, and teaching to think. My automatic behavior with kids was to talk down to them, and guide them by being BOSSY PANTS. Here is a HANDBOOK for retraining yourself to be a kind and effective adult. There are exercises. Simulated conversations using cartoons. Examples of dialogs, responses. You will recognize your childhood in the examples of WHAT PEOPLE USUALLY SAY, and it’ll tell you to TRY THIS INSTEAD. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elain Mazlish.