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Excerpted from Loving Each Other by Leo Buscaglia. Copyright © 1984 by Leo Buscaglia. Excerpted by permission of Fawcett, a division of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"The very measure of a good relationships is in how much it encourages optimal intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth."

Leo Buscaglia, Loving Each Other, Part 3

As the girl grew, no one in the land was more happy than she. Whenever anyone asked her for the secret of her happiness, she would only smile and say, "I listened to a good fairy."

As she grew quite old, the neighbors were afraid the fabulous secret might die with her. "Tell us, please," they begged, "tell us what the fairy said." The now lovely old lady simply smiled and said, "She told me that everyone, no matter how secure they seemed, had need of me!"

We all need each other.


There comes a time in some relationships when no matter how sincere the attempt to reconcile the differences or how strong the wish to recreate a part of the past once shared, the struggle becomes so painful that nothing else is felt and the world and all its beauty only add to the discomfort by providing cruel contrast. – David Viscott

We are not evil, inadequate or incompetent when our relationships fail. It may have been that we were simply overconfident about them, not adequately prepared for them or unrealistic in our expectations of them. Not all relationships are right. As long as values change, insights expand, human facades remain impenetrable and human behaviors unpredictable, we will make mistakes.

The very measure of a good relationships is in how much it encourages optimal intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth. So, if a relationship becomes destructive, endangers our human dignity, prevents us from growing, continually depresses and demoralizes us – and we have done everything we can to prevent its failure – then, unless we are masochists and enjoy misery, we must eventually terminate it. We are not for everyone and everyone is not for us. The question is, "If we cannot be with another, can we at least not hurt them? Can we, at least, find a way to coexist?"

The Myth

We have been poisoned by fairy tales.
– Anais Nin

Fallen myths can distill venom. 
– Denis De Rougemont

"And they lived happily ever after."

So goes the eternal myth of loving each other. The fantasy that being in love and forming relationships based upon love will solve all of life’s problems and provide us with deserved and instant happiness. The myth is delightful. The reality is all too fierce.

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