February 1980

Be human; reach for relationships
by Lisa

   The importance of sustaining close relationships has always had meaning to me, but I had never quite capsulated my own ideas about love and intimacy until I listed to Dr. Leo Buscaglia, professor at the University of Southern California, speak on this subject in an address entitled "On Being Human" (University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire, 1977).
   Now I have incorporated his ideas into my own personal philosophy; Dr. Buscaglia and I believe (in his words)

   The greatest challenge to being fully human is being
   able to form deep, lasting, and meaningful relation-
   ships, no matter what it entails. Being able to take the
   risk and reaching out, because you know that your
   alternative lies in loneliness and despair.

   Deep, lasting, and meaningful relationships are inherent to the human condition. According to Dr. Buscaglia, relationships and love are easy and natural for humankind. "It's we who make them complicated." Not only are relationships innate to humans, but they are also essential in helping reflect individuals and emotionally sustain individuals. Dr. Buscaglia succinctly stated, "It takes two to see one"--people need the security of realistic feedback from other humans.
   Relationships emotionally sustain people by preventing form of psychological death--loneliness and isolation--the alternatives to intimacy. The absolute necessity of relationships is undeniable; "Your best indicator of your health as a human person is how many lasting, meaningful, deep relationships you have," says Dr. Buscaglia.
   This duality--that relationships contain potential for the highest pleasure and the worst pain--is the essence of relationships. William Faulkner admits, "If I had to choose between pain and nothing, I would always choose pain." Pain at least stimulates whereas boredom does not.
    Putting an ego on the line is a risky gambit--rejection is possible. But the possibilities of success (becoming more intimate with someone) makes the risk worth it. Even if rejection occurs and pain results, benefit still lies in having felt something; emotions did not merely lie dormant and isolated.