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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

One of the things to keep in mind about romantic relationships is that you can only be ready for it once you know that you can still live a good life without it. Think about this son, if you live your life feeling empty and incomplete, there is a chance that you will expect all your happiness to come from your girlfriend/fiancé/wife once you find her. Remember that I explained earlier why you shouldn’t do this.

There is a good analogy for this: Two individuals, a man and a woman, come out of a grocery store. The man bought bacon, and the woman bought eggs. If they went their separate ways, they can still go ahead and make a satisfying breakfast individually. But if they combined what they bought they’d be able to cook an even more satisfying meal. This is how you should view romantic relationships (in fact, I believe most relationships should be viewed this way!).

This is not to say that you should keep your girlfriend/fiancé/wife at arms length. Not at all! Be warm to her. Give her lots of affection. Regularly show her how much you love her. This is the beauty of learning how to be independent: once you know that you can live a good life by yourself, you are no longer afraid to share it with someone else.

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Knowing everything about the world we live in is not possible. I know I said previously that you should strive to learn new things everyday and I still stand by that. I just want you to understand that there are limits to what we can know. It may seem confusing to you at first. The reason I’m telling you this is because I don’t want you to end up thinking too highly of yourself. I want you to realise that we are all just parts of a bigger reality. I’m not belittling your worth in this world, of course: we all have an important part to play. What I’m saying is that I don’t want you to isolate yourself from those around you by thinking that you know everything.

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Son, don’t pin all of your hopes on a single relationship. I know I said previously that true happiness can be found in relationships, but don’t expect that all the happiness in your life can be supplied by a single relationship. It’s not fair to the individual (or individuals) with whom you share that relationship and it’s certainly not fair to you.

Learn to balance your expectations of each relationship. Understand that all the relationships in your life are important. Borrowing from the domain of corporate finance, work to achieve a balanced “portfolio” of relationships that optimises your level of happiness.

I say “optimise” because there are trade-offs in two levels here: In the level of the relationship and in the level of the “portfolio” of relationships. Let’s take a look at the trade-off in the relationship level first. On one hand, you want to maximise the happiness that you can derive from a relationship. On the other hand you also need to maximise the happiness derived by the individual (or individuals) who share that relationship with you. Achieving a balance between these two ensures the health of the relationship and thus allows everyone involved to continuously derive happiness from it. Now let’s take a look at the trade-off in the “portfolio” level. One the one hand, you’re trying to optimise your happiness from one relationship. On the other hand, another relationship might partly conflict with it and also needs optimisation. An example of this would be the conflict that sometimes arises between work and family. Achieving a balance in this level assures you of a constant source of happiness.

It all sounds overwhelming at first, doesn’t it? I must admit, I haven’t mastered it myself. Lucky for you though, you’re still young and you still have a lot of time to learn about this aspect of life. Baby steps, son. Baby steps.

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A large part–if not the whole–of your own happiness depends on the quality of your relationships with other people. Maintain high-quality friendships, business relationships, romantic relationships, family relationships and other formal and informal relationships. Do this by making sure that the relationship is beneficial to all parties. Make sure that the relationship contributes to the betterment of the lives of everyone involved (including yourself, of course). This is where true happiness lies. Always remember that.

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