by Dr. Ken Larsen
One of my favorite “message songs” was performed by Elvis Presley. The title is “Life”. One of the lines goes, “…from in the depths an evil seed, grew and manufactured greed, and changed the way of life…”
Most of us have seen the negative effects of greed on our mental health and happiness. The near collapse of our economic system as the result of the greed of a few has sent a wakeup call to all of us. When some take more than their share, the rest of us suffer.
This is important in our relationships. There is an “economy” in our connections that goes beyond the financial. We each have what others need. Healthy and happy relationships are built on giving to one another in quantity sufficient to meet one another’s needs.
What do we have to share? We have our time. We have our affection. We have the attention we can give one another. These are the things that we need to give and receive in order to enjoy the mental health and happiness that we all want and need.
“How much is enough?” is a question. It is a question that we need to answer in dialogue with one another. As the song says, greed can be an evil seed that can change the quality of our lives and relationships.
By Dr. Barnes Boffey
Going too far in trying to avoid situations in which our loved ones feel upset can come back to bite us. Too often those of us who want to keep the peace at all costs pay the cost of doing that out of our own well-being. We “give in” or “give up” to ease the discomfort the other person is feeling and in doing so begin to trade away bits of our personhood. Pretty soon there is a big hole inside us where “we” are supposed to be.
Over the long haul we may trade way our ability to ask for what we want, or our ability to tell the truth, or our lightness of being – all in an effort to make sure our loved one is not upset. If we want a healthy relationship we need to be able to accept and face the upset
without running away or giving in. A healthy friend of mine once said about his wife: ‘We had hard time at the beginning because when she got upset in her family growing up, it somehow meant that everyone had to stop and make sure she got over her upset. When she gets upset with me, all it means is that she is upset.”
There are people who adjust their relationship to the truth, and there are people who adjust the truth to their relationship. The first is difficult in the short run; the second is disastrous in the long run. Speaking the truth in a relationship is the key to intimacy, strength and mutual happiness. We need to remember that it is not our job to adjust the truth of what we know and believe to the other person’s satisfaction.
I hope you’re not mad at me for saying that……. 🙂