Be strong enough to stand alone
Be smart enough to know when you need help.
Be brave enough to ask.
Why Shakespeare was Wrong
In the pantheon of great authors, William Shakespeare stands alone. The insights expressed via his plays’ characters dwarf the efforts of all other authors. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how a single writer could produce such a trove of wisdom and contribution.
But nobody’s perfect – not even The Bard. The issue that today’s newsletter takes exception to is found in Hamlet via the words of Polonius. While Shakespeare’s character later speaks to the need for introspection with the words, “To thine self be true,” he earlier exhorts others with the puzzling counsel, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”
I agree with Polonius on the topic of remaining true to oneself, but what’s wrong with borrowing and lending? The answer: NOTHING!!!
The psychologist, William Glasser, addresses this issue with greater clarity than does W, S. Dr. Glasser lays out a roadmap for a successful and productive life with his pathways to “positive addictions.” Contrary to the popular notion that addictions always involve negative conduct, Glasser postulates that the best synonym for the term “addiction” is “need.” He observes that those who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling and other negative behaviors are doomed to an unhappy and unproductive life. They, sadly, need their self-destructive substances and habits. In contrast, Glasser asserts that happy and successful people need to engage in certain positive habits. Among these is the healthy need to give and receive love.
So let’s go back to Shakespeare and his mouthpiece, Polonius. I believe that “giving love” in all its forms is a form of “lending.” We extend caring, support, and resources to others for their benefit as well as our own. Conversely, Glasser instructs that “receiving love” is equally important and is analogous to “borrowing” support and assistance from those close to us.
Of the two, more kind and good people seem more comfortable as “givers.” They are always willing, if you will, to “lend a hand.” But there are times when they deny their friends and associates the opportunity to feel good about themselves by refusing to accept a kindness or offer of assistance.
So which of these two virtues, these “positive addictions” of giving and receiving love, are you best at? Which of the two are you reluctant to exhibit?
Toady’s homework: Work on the weaker of these two positive addictions. You’ll reward yourself, and others, with your new focus.
Because we idealize GIVING so much, we ignore the ability, blessing and duty to RECEIVE. Aumrivani