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In my experience of relationships, I have run across four sound philosophical principles.  On these, I have developed three pillars on which all healthy relationships are built.  With the total of these seven elements, I have developed a working model of advancing and improving, on a daily level, not only my own personal relationships, but also those of the many patients, guests and corporations over the years willing to invest some of their time and resources into learning how to do this properly.

Relationship work needs to be founded on sound philosophical principles, or Great Truths, as I am fond of calling them.

A quick word about these: they need to be universally accepted, and resistant to time. A philosophy can only be a Great Truth if what was true 6, 000 years ago, or 500 years ago, is still true today. Similarly, it needs to be understood and accepted to be true by businessmen in Manhattan, or shepherds in a field on hillside in Uganda; by English or Mandarin speakers; and by Buddhists or atheists alike.

Here is my first Great Truth.
All relationships should be founded on the principle that relationships are about loving one another. The first thing I have learned to do when I meet somebody, no matter how briefly, is to find qualities and characteristics in the person I am just meeting that are “loveworthy”. In my now increasingly longer life, I have always found at least one characteristic in another that I could slowly nurture into a feeling of affection that over time – if there was ongoing contact between me and the person – strengthened into love.

A note to my readers: the faces of love are protean. Love is not simply that between two adults about which so many and much have been written, or that of a parent or child. It is also what exists between friends, between mentor and mentee, between a functional boss and a functional employee, between a person and their pet, between siblings, really between any other contact between people that can be called a relationship.

Contact between two or more people which at its heart has that intent always can grow and become richer. If we do not start out at the beginning attempting to find communalities that can foster what I call “love” between persons, the relationship is either doomed or cannot be called a relationship at all.

Anything else is being about one simple thing: about who is predator and who is victim; it is about who of the two sides have the power. One side of any such “relationships” must be dominant, and the other not. There is no equality in any “relationship” if the founding principle is not the intent to love.

Let’s consider the life of car salespeople. I could choose any relationship story to illustrate my point. Car salespeople just happened to be the first thing that came to mind.

Car salespeople’s jobs are to sell cars. They get commissions and pay raises for selling cars.

What the heck has love got to do with selling cars?


If these people do not approach every prospective customer with the intent to find something to love in them, if they therefore did not take the time to get to know them, they will be unable to offer them something that is a good fit for them.  At first, they may make a lot of money and become the apple of the eye of their manager. Over time however, as they deplete the reservoir of people they duped into what was the best fit not for the buyer but for the seller, and into what was the optimum profit margin for the seller, they will experience decreasing sales numbers and fall out of favour with their manager (who only also “liked” what they did, not who they are, for the power and prestige they provided and who groomed them with praise for only that reason) and end up at the bottom of the salesperson’s totem pole, if not terminated from that particular work force.

Why will this happen?
They will experience this as people will not buy their next car from them, and people will tell their friends and neighbours also not to do that.

The first Great Truth is that no relationship can truly be called a relationship and will not stand the test of time, if we do not at the start, every day in the middle, and when the final day comes when death parts us, or geographical distance, approach the relationship attempting to Love the Other.

Very simple and therefore very true.

Dr. Strauss l Wellness Lead
Follow me on Twitter @DrPieterStrauss