I think the book that has had the MOST dramatic and positive affect on my life has been I Need Your Love is That True? by Byron Katie. Before reading this book I would do two very detrimental thought patterns that made me and the people around me very unhappy.
One, I would make bad assumptions about people and situations and string them together into a very neat and logical (yet not true) narrative that would place me as the front and center 'victim' of any given situation; allowing me the power to then to justify carrying on as a victim. This process of stringing together negative ideas has become so calcified in my mind, so part of my being that I did not even know it was happening anymore. I could literally come up with these narratives within seconds; I was great at this. And oh! how miserable these narratives made me and the people around me. Sounds like a whacky and crazy condition huh? but in fact, humans do it all the time. I see the 'narratives' being constructed all the time. We combine the words that one person said yesterday to this other person's actions and connect it to a compliment from someone else and voila we have a narrative that must be true!
The second thought pattern, and it's somewhat connected to the above pattern, is the pure and utter belief in these assumption; no matter how painful and self detrimental they might be. A few years back, a person could literally tell me all the loving and wonderful things I could ever want to hear, yet, my mind would immediately twist it and morph it enough so that in the end my perception of it would be something else completely, something quite negative in fact. This second thought pattern, seems like quite an exotic condition as well, yet, unfortunately, it happens all around us, all the time. How many times have we heard simple kind words come out of someone else 's mouth and automatically labeled these comments as something else than what it was? Let me give an example. Having always had issues with my body image, I grew up being incredibly sensitive to comments made to me about either my weight or my look. Even an innocent and genuine compliment relating to my body would be immediately met with doubt and suspicion.
Since reading this book, I have since cured myself of this hurtful translation pattern and since then, I take people at their words and actions and don't read into them with all my garbage in the way. It feels absolutely amazing to really see and experience people and their actions without all my personal stuff getting in the way to translate them into something other than what it is.