Lenny Ravich
It’s the Relationship, Darling

It’s the Relationship, Darling

December 10, 2022

Hi, my dear friends. Welcome home. I’m Lenny Ravich, author of the bestselling book “Everlasting Optimism” and Humorous Keynote Speaker in London and Hong Kong. At 86 I need cataract surgery. Did I spell that correctly?  I can’t see! Help!

In my last blog I asked the question: “Is there a path to permanent contentment?” the answer is “Yes”.

It’s All Relative

Everyrything is relative. Have you ever heard that before? A fellow by the name of Albert Einstein came to that conclusion when he discovered that all things are relative to each other.

Why Were We Born?

So I have come to the finale that everything is relationships. What we do all our lives is relate. I am relating to you right now through these words, you are relating to what I am writing, in another moment you will relate to something or someone else and they will relate to you. Do you know why we came into this world? To relate and to connect with one another. Without relating we would get sick and die, and you don’t want to do that, do you? Not right now.

Here’s Why

In Britain, in the year 1943, orphans who were survivors of the Nazi V-2 rocket bombings that occurred daily, were brought to a safe shelter in an orphanage and given food, warm clothes and blankets. The children slowly became depressed and later died. The volunteers who served these children were in shock. How could they become despondent and die? They have enough to eat and drink and are given warm clothes and blankets.

Being in Relation

The answer to their questions was delivered by a man by the name of Dr. W. Spitz who claimed that the children were dying because they were not getting the most vital thing. Come on, you know. They were not being related to. He attempted to explain that if we are deprived of human contact we will get sick, depressed, and despondent and die. Have you ever thought of why solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments given in prisons?

Dr. Eric Berne, author of “Games People Play” spouted this premise in his famous “stroke theory.” He claimed that we are born not only with a hunger for food and water but in addition we were all born with, “recognition hunger”; the hunger to be acknowledged, to be seen, to be loved, and to be accepted without condition. Without that we will get ill and eventually die.

Stroke Theory

That is why in most societies the ceremony involving the “stroke theory” plays its part. The definition of a “stroke”, according to Dr. Eric Berne, is the appreciation one receives and gives back. Dr. Berne claimed that we need at least three “strokes” from each person we encounter in order to stay well and healthy. The three pats to our ego are” (1) Hello” and (Hello back) (2) “How are you?”  “Fine and how are you?” “Fine, thanks” (Returned). And (3) ” Bye, Have a good one.” (ditto)

You may think to yourself that when people ask, “How are you?” they not are really listening to the answer nor are they actually concerned. That may be true. We mainly ask “How are you?” to give the stroke and to get one back, “Fine, and how are you”, which keeps us healthy and happy. We must relate and be related to in order to have healthy, joyous, and meaningful lives.

What happens when we don’t relate or get related to? Imagine how you would feel if you spotted someone you know fairly well and said, “Hello” and did not get that person’s acknowledgment back? According to Dr. Eric Berne, “Your spinal cord would shrivel up” and eventually, if this tribute would be denied to you over a long period of time, you would ultimately become despondent, depressed and get sick.

Picture my walking out of my house and seeing Mark, my neighbor, and he says, “Hi, Lenny. How are you?” as we have done for the past twenty years. I, in turn say, “Fine, Mark. And how are you?” And he says, “Great. We just got back from our vacation in Brazil.” Then I say, “Have a great day. Bye.”

How would he feel? He expects more than just three strokes. After all, he’s just come back from Brazil and anticipates at least three extra stokes for that bit of information. Something like, “No kidding?  How come Brazil? Did you all enjoy yourselves?” That would make him feel better and prevent his spinal cord from shriveling up.

The law concerning stroking is that in order to get a stroke I have to give one first, or if I am given one first, I must return one to the giver. However, as healthy as giving strokes and getting them are, there is such a thing as a negative stroke which causes damage to our health, well-being and self-esteem.

I try to always keep that in mind while engaging my audiences in my humorous and funny keynotes in London and Hong Kong.

Let me tell you a story about how damaging contacts could influence our well-being in my upcoming blog

See you soon. Oh, and “Bye”


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