Magazine article Psychology Today

On Wanting More for Others Than They Want for Themselves

Magazine article Psychology Today

On Wanting More for Others Than They Want for Themselves

Article excerpt

GOOD ADVICE HAS a shape-shifting quality to it, not unlike a great Russian novel: At first, it seems absolute and clear-cut, yet new themes emerge as often as you return to it.

In this issue, Hara Estroff Maraño elicited high-grade counsel from a range of respondents, whom you'll meet in "16 Life Lessons." As editor at large and Unconventional Wisdom columnist, Hara has long provided advice throughout the magazine. It feels only appropriate to share something she once told me that never made it into print.

Years ago Hara warned, "You cannot want more for others than they want for themselves." Initially, I thought of this simply in terms of not pushing the people I love-especially my children-to conform to my desires and expectations for their lives. I now think this default posture of nonjudgmentalism applies to any human encounter. …

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