We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world,
and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.
--- Robert Louis Stevenson
The social distance between two people—whether they are friends, family members or intimate partners—is a continually evolving variable that their interaction influences in each and every moment.
The more we treat other people with kindness while also non-judgmentally allowing them their freedom, the more they wish to be close to us.
The more we attempt to keep others under our wing to quench our insatiable need for reassurance that we are not alone in this world, the further we push them away.
The reality is that we have come into this world alone and will leave it alone. I realize that is a tough thing to write or read and it reeks of an individualistic approach to life.
I see it differently, however. We do not set foot on this earth to accumulate things or people. Most of us spend our lives trying to make as much money as we can, guided by this futile objective.
Rather, we are here to experience love and share it with others.
To progress in this endeavor, it is imperative that we accept others as they are and allow them to be free human beings: in other words, to offer them precisely what we desire for ourselves.
To do so, we cannot insist on a specific level of closeness that they must maintain with respect to us.
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).