Continuing with book recommedations for National A Book and a Coffee Day on May 31, I am glad to let you know about The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
You may have seen this book in the self-help section. It's small, but it contains a universe of wisdom. Unlike other self-help books which
a.) make you feel guilty for not being successful/married/a perfect mom/happy already,
b.) have flies flittering around the pages because of all the B.S.,
The Four Agreementsis thoughtful, mature, and helpful for everyone. It's a testament for being responsible for what you can do -- not for what happens outside you.
I don't think I am spoiling the book by giving this summary of the Agreements (which I had on my refrigerator for a long time):
BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
DON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of endless suffering.
DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
If I had read this book when I was in my teens -- especially Agreement #2 -- it would have saved me years of sorrow.
Whenever I feel that circumstances or other people loom over me like storm clouds, The Four Agreements help put them in perspective. Try them out for yourself -- maybe with a coffee at your drinking hand!