She’s 22 years old and presumes to preach about relationships. I would like to call on the combined thinking of three of history’s most brilliant minds to suggest she doesn’t have a clue.
She is a psychology student at a Boston university, describes herself as a “puppy momma” and is given space at Huffington Post to spread her shallow opinions. And, God forbid, she may someday be paid to give relationship advice to others.
In her recent blog titled, “6 Ways My Life Has Improved Since I've Taken a Break From Drinking,” she writes:
To say I've had a completely unexpected and crazy summer would be an understatement. I was initially enrolled in summer classes but I ended up deciding to withdraw from them and take the rest of the summer to address a lot of issues I had been so desperately trying to avoid, through self-destructive behaviors such as too much partying, drinking and relationships that were no longer serving me.
Relationships that were “no longer serving me.”
Ah, yes, it’s the Me Generation speaking. It’s all about her.
News Flash, Puppy Momma: A relationship is not self-serving, but self-giving.
A lasting relationship is one in which each person cares foremost for the good of the other. It’s not each giving 50-50; it’s each relinquishing 100%.
Perhaps if this university “student” had stayed in at night to read a little philosophy instead of partying and drinking through her college days, she would have learned what the ancients had to say about friendship—which is the foundation of any relationship.
The Greek philosophers considered friendship an essential ingredient of the good life because it leads to wisdom and happiness.
But relationships can have their dark side—jealousy, envy, exploitation. So the Greeks explored the principles that govern relationships.
They saw friendships falling into three categories: 1) Those in which people are attracted to each other because they enjoy doing things together—work, sports, whatever; and 2) sexual relationships.
These relationships, however, are founded on something apart from the persons themselves. When that goes away—the work, the sex—the friendship dissolves.
The third category—the lasting relationship—is the one in which each person loves the other for who they are in themselves. They share mutual goodwill, melding into a relationship where “a single soul dwells in two bodies.”
The Roman philosopher and orator, Cicero, talked about the profound sense of connectedness in this kind of relationship. When one dies, he still lives, Cicero said, because he lives in the other’s heart.
But all three philosophers—Plato, Aristotle and Cicero—struggled to understand why a self-sufficient person even needs a relationship with others. After all, a self-sufficient person doesn’t rely on other people for happiness.
Their conclusion? Happiness is best achieved by being self-sufficient—and forming relationships with those who are themselves self-sufficient.
Note to Puppy Momma: It’s not all about you.
*The painting above is Le Printemps, by Elina Brotherus, 2001
In my next blog, “We Are Song”
Read my newest book, Fat Guy in a Fat Boat, in print or Kindle from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Guy-Boat-Peter-Yaremko/dp/0990905012/
Also available is my e-book, A Light from Within, about the small moments of our lives that seem commonplace until they are examined under a creative lens.
- Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R3SF200
- iBooks (iPad): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-light-from-within/id950880424?mt=11