From a reader: Your article (on Donald Trump) was interesting to me, but not because it had anything to do with politics.
Instead, I saw it as being applicable to relationships of all kinds, and perhaps particularly, to close personal relationships, including those with our families of origin.
In my view, if you can’t be inconvenient, at times, in a relationship, you’re not in a virtuous relationship. (A virtuous relationship is one where everyone benefits, in the long term.)
In other words, if you have to self-erase (pretend to hold opinions other than what you really believe, or to otherwise sacrifice yourself) in order to be safe in a relationship, it’s not a relationship that is truly to your interest.
Many of us grew up in homes where we could not be ourselves. Perhaps our mothers or fathers or siblings made it unsafe for us to truly be ourselves, or we were punished whenever we attempted to share our deepest thoughts and feelings. Or maybe, no one cared enough to even inquire (neglect.)
Tolerating non-virtuous relationships is a huge waste. As children, we had no choice. Thankfully, as adults, we do.
Being authentic and real is hard for many people. They think they do others a favor by withholding their true emotions, even ones grounded in reality and defensible by reason. Then they wonder why they end up full of regret, insecurity, and even the resentment of others who feel misled by them.
If you cannot be yourself in a relationship, then you’re not in a real relationship. You’re committing a form of fraud, first against yourself and simultaneously against your loved one. While your words need never be (and never should be) mean-spirited or designed to bring down, all one’s words ought to be honest and real. And it’s not mean-spirited to be truthful.
In our political establishment, this issue has reached a bizarre and pathological level, because the whole system (both parties) is run by self-evidently corrupt deceivers. What almost nobody stops to ask is what got them there, and — more importantly — what keeps them there?
The answer is the whole lie of socialism, on which our wealth-redistributing state rests. Robbing from some to pay off others and calling it “compassion” is nothing more than Mafia-like behavior sugarcoated with what passes for morality. Put simply, you cannot foster honesty and integrity based on a system of lies and deceit. Not in personal relationships, and not on the social level, either.
What’s going on in Washington DC today is the equivalent of a relationship where the spouse or family member says, “I’m not doing this for me; I’m doing this for you.” And it’s all a lie. While we all can and must pursue our self-interests, we must do so openly and without deceit or phoniness. If our interests are out in the open and rational, it’s usually not a problem to do so.
America is falling apart at the seams. It’s happening for the same reason individuals fall apart. Contradictions, self-deceit, evasion and rationalization are hard on an individual’s psyche. They’re equally hard on an entire society.
To fix the political and social problems, we have to fix ourselves. Fixing ourselves means getting rid of the false idea that we’re entitled to anything — anything at all that belongs to another person. No more lies, no more rationalizations. No more threats, no more evasions. We are all entitled to the same thing, and to only one thing: The right to be left alone. Beyond that, society (i.e. other persons) owe us nothing.
Until or unless most of us start to get this, we’re doomed. Once we face it, then — once again — everything becomes possible.
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