The Power of Getting

Along With Others


      There is one new cabinet post that should be established in

      our Federal Government. For that matter, this kind of office

      should be set up as a vital branch of any nation’s administration.


This department would become, at once, the busiest in the land. Its primary aim would be to help individuals get along with one another. This inability to live always peacefully under the same roof, with next-door neighbors, with in-laws, with fellow workers, with business associates, with club members, with schoolmates, with church people, with political opponents, with anyone and everyone, is a plague upon men and women, young and old, everywhere!

The threat of a third World War starts with two individuals who can’t get along, multiplied by millions whose hates and resentments and fears and suspicions are keeping them from getting along with the peoples of other countries . The mass consciousness of mankind is in a highly emotional, disturbed state at present and is apt to remain so for some time. You can do little about this, but you can do a great deal toward attaining and maintaining your own peace of mind, and establishing good human relations with loved ones, friends and all whom you will meet.


Jealousy can be ruinous to human happiness. And yet we are all guilty of it at times. It is often difficult for you to see some individual get credit for something which you feel should have come to you.

Or perhaps a business associate or fellow worker gets a promotion when you do not, making you jealous or resentful.  A brother or sister or some other relative may be favored by those you love and may enjoy a greater popularity. This is almost certain cause for a jealous reaction.

So-and-So may have more money, more advantages in life —all the things you’d like to have and can’t afford, so you “burn up” every time you think of what he or she has, and what you haven’t.

It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. This life is all wrong. Yes, I concede that this life is full of injustices, inequities, unfortunate occurrences. But if you and I are to derive any lasting degree of happiness from it, we must adjust ourselves to the daily happen-ings so that we are not emotionally upset each time we encounter an unpleasant human experience. Why let yourself be made miserable by the actions of others?

You can, if you will, school yourself not to “fly off the handle” when others mistreat you—and even to return kindness for offense and insult. If another individual is jealous of you, he may try to hurt your feelings or embarrass you, and he would like nothing better than to see that you are affected by what he does or says. Unless you maintain good emotional control, you will give such a person great satisfaction. But if you overlook the intended slight, you will do more to punish a jealous friend or relative than to give recognition to his thoughts and acts. A bitter attack upon a jealous individual will only further aggravate matters and create a breach between the two of you that can never again be closed in friend-ship.

Jealousy is a terrible, vicious, destructive emotion. Not so long ago, a woman dropped a note out of an apartment window, saying she was being held prisoner by her husband —and pleading for someone to rescue her. Police called at the address, found an attractive woman, locked in a room where she had been kept by a jealous husband who resented other men looking at her when they were out together. Of course, her husband was emotionally unbalanced but there are thousands of other men and women who are motivated by jealousy to say and do mean things to their mates.

Some women make the great mistake of “playing a romantic game” with their husbands. The idea is to keep them guessing as to whether or not they really still love them. This is supposed to keep their mates “pursuing them,” after the “chase” has been ended by marriage. These women are afraid that romance will become commonplace unless they are wooed every day by their men—’ ‘wooed all over again.

Obviously, the love of no man or woman should be taken for granted. Romantic attentions should not cease with the ringing of wedding bells. Playing, however, with a man’s or a woman’s affections, after marriage, is dynamite. Then is the time to give your mate daily assurance of your love for him or her—to leave no room for doubt or jealousy or discord.

If you find you are jealous of someone—ask yourself— WHY? Is it because you really feel inferior to this person, incapable of being what he or she has become? If so—put your jealousy aside and go to work on yourself. You have a reconstruction job to do, with respect to your personality, character and ability. When this has been accomplished, you will have attained recognition on your own merits, and developed beyond the temptation to envy others

You can well afford to be generous in your estimate of others, whatever their estimate of you. This does not mean that you have to go over-board or to be extrava-gant in any expressed praise or appreciation. Sometimes what you do not say is safer and wiser than saying anything. But jealousy, under any and all circum-stances, is not a power— it is a weakness! You cannot think clearly and correctly while dominated by it.


Are you hypersensitive? Do you imagine that you aren’t making the proper impression on people, that you haven’t said or done the right thing? Do you keep going over and over what you have said and done, afterward, wishing you had said or done something else and fearing you have offended friends or that they have misunderstood your actions?

This is a bad mental habit, usually caused by an over-conscientious attitude . You quite possibly were criticized in your childhood for things you said and did that disturbed your elders, and you have feared, ever since, that your conduct might not be acceptable to others.  “I am always imagining that my remarks may be misinterpreted by friends,” an influential businessman confessed to me. “I catch myself apologizing for fancied slights of others, only to find that my friends don’t know what I’m apologizing about. This apprehension that whatever I do or say may be wrong is making me nervous and affecting my health.”

A prominent society woman said to me: “Everyone thinks it is easy for me to appear in public and take part in social functions. Actually it is torture because I live in fear that I will make a fool of myself. I never do, of course, but it’s an ordeal for me to face people and to take charge of meetings. I’m never sure how I’ve made out until it’s all over. In fact, I think I’m making a botch of things at the time. I’d give anything if I could get rid of these inferior feelings.”

The cure for hypersensitivity is in realizing that there is no justification for your fears. You have not made the wrong impression on others, despite your worries. Your failure has been in your mind only . But continued worry of this kind, unless checked, can eventually demoralize you and upset your powers of expression to the point that you will not be able to think and act as you should.

Some men and women have taken to drink to give them greater assurance, to blind them to certain mistakes they may make and to give them “courage” to speak out and do as they like. Using alcohol as a prop seemingly aids some people in the meeting of others, but their sense of inferiority will get them into trouble, sooner or later. You cannot eliminate hypersensitivity with liquor or any other bad fault.

Give thought in advance to the people you are apt to meet at a coming social function. Picture yourself meeting them in a relaxed, self-confident way. See yourself showing an interest in these people, asking them about their activities, talking about subjects of interest to them. When you keep your mind’s attention upon others, you cannot be worrying about what others are thinking about you, and you will naturally say and do the right thing as you react to what is being said and done by others.

Only when you are self-consciously aware of every move you make in the presence of others, are you plagued with these apprehensions that you aren’t doing so well. Just forget yourself, and you will be remembered favorably by those you meet.


Do you “kill” your friends and loved ones with kindness? Do you insist on doing things for others whether or not they want you to do them or prefer to do these things. for themselves? This is a mistaken way of demonstrating your affection

for friends and loved ones. There is a joy in doing, from which others should not be deprived. You may get a big kick out of serving your friends and loved ones when such services really aren’t welcome.

“I let So-and-So do things for me because she insists on doing them,” a friend said to me, “but I wish to goodness, she wouldn’t! She makes me feel eternally under obligation to her but, worst of all, she does things that I’d prefer doing for myself!” Such “serving of others” is really a form of selfishness or ‘‘smother love.’’ You aren’t doing these things to bring others happiness as much as yourself. Some mothers and fathers pour out this kind of devotion upon their children, trying to participate as much as possible in their lives—to the extent that the children are semi-helpless to do anything for themselves, even their own thinking. Then such parents, when their children act rebellious or get into an escapade, often say: “That’s gratitude after all I’ve done for you, the sacrifices I’ve made—no appreciation. I can’t understand your turning out like you have!” Taking away an individ-ual’s self-reliance, the incentive to do things for one’s self, can develop in such a person life-lasting inferiorities.

Self-sufficient grown-ups will resent your attempt to do things that they prefer doing for themselves. They may put up with your “devotion” for a time, but you will be destroying rather than increasing their affection by hovering over and around them, endeavoring to anticipate their every need and jumping in, unasked, to “be helpful.” The best rule is to be ready and willing to do things for those you love, but to make sure that such services are welcome and invited before insisting or volunteering to render them.

Take pride in the accomplishments of friends and relatives, encourage them to do things for themselves; in this way, you will not only help create more capable individuals, but you will also give them a true joy in their own attainments.

A little boy pathetically said, when he had ridden a few feet on a bicycle without his parent’s guiding hands: “Did I do it—or didn’t I?” His face glowed when he was assured that he had done it, all by himself. One of the strongest human desires of young or old is to be able to “do” things. It is a danger signal when you want to give up and let others do things for you that you could really do for yourself. Of course, if health or other factors will not permit, this is different. But don’t let others “kill you with kindness,” and don’t you try to “kill” them. “Live and let live” is a policy that will bring you more friends and influence people to love you.


Are you afraid of what others may think? Do you let this fear keep you from doing and saying things that should be done and said? Many men and women of good moral character are permitting fear of ridicule, criticism or censure to destroy their much greater usefulness to the community in which they live. They are afraid to take a stand on any controversial issue that may come up for fear of offending friends who may oppose it. “I’m going to stay out of this,” such persons will say. “You don’t need my vote or opinion or help, anyway. I can’t afford to antagonize So-and-So—he’s too good a friend or customer of mine.” But if Mr. So-and-So is not acting for the best interests of the community, he should be opposed, and you are not a good citizen if you fail to take a public stand for community betterment.

Fear of gossip has kept numerous men and women from talking or associating with neighbors whose reputation has been sullied by those who have not approved of their actions. They are afraid to be seen with certain persons on the street lest the “scandal brigade” start their “tongues wagging.” Ask yourself only one question if and when you are confronted with the same fear of “what others may say”:

                    Knowing that we all have our faults, is there anything

                    really wrong in my talking or associating with So-and-So,

                    just so I know my own conduct, regardless of what others

                    may think or say, is beyond reproach?

If the answer you get from your own conscience clears you of any malicious comments that may be made, feel free to think and act as you choose. Who is run-ning your life, anyway—you or the small-minded citizens of your community?

                                    DO “THINGS” POSSESS YOU?

You love your home, of course, or—at least—you should. There is something very wrong if you don’t, but have you ever considered what makes a happy home? The answer is simple—the people in it! Not the things —the people! You hear folks say: “So-and-So has a wonderful home!”     Does he? He may have a beautiful home and yard, a two-car garage, every modern convenience and gadget—and yet the life in his home may be far from happy.

We spend far too much emotion and sentiment upon things and possessions which really possess US, rather than our possessing them. And because things have come to mean more to many men and women than they themselves do to each other, true happiness has vanished from their lives. In its place is a synthetic kind of happiness such as the cheap joy which selfish ownership brings.

“She just lives for her home,” one woman said of another, and she spoke the truth. This woman was living for her house rather than her husband and family. She loved every piece of antique furniture in it; she kept everything in order as one would a showcase or a set of museum pieces. You mustn’t sit in this chair or that chair —they were too valuable and your weight might break them. Make certain your shoes aren’t muddy before walking upon her costly carpets. The personal value she attached to her furnishings destroyed their utility. They were to be admired but used with such great care that other members of the household found no happiness living in such an atmosphere, especially the children, who rebelled against the restrictions of “Don’t touch this and that.” This was an extreme case, but there are many lesser cases of foolish and unwarranted devotion to things—to the extent that things have come between the love of a man and wife for each other.

Things can be clothes as well as a house or furniture, and an inordinate desire to put everything on one’s back is another form of selfishness that arouses resentment. Things can also include an excessive interest in a dog—devoting more attention to it than one’s mate. Or things can mean an interest in horse racing or gambling or away- from-home activities that take too much time and money and tend to destroy the home life of the individual.

Are you a worshipper of THINGS? It’s fine to have nice things if nice things don’t have YOU! Love of home and family puts things, which possess no happiness in and of themselves, in their rightful place. Without the PEOPLE in a home and their devotion to one another there is no happiness worthy of the name and there never will be.


                          BEST WAY TO GET ALONG WITH OTHERS

What is the most appreciated compliment you can pay to a friend or loved one?

Giving considerate and devoted attention to that man or woman’s interests, activities, desires and aspirations! If you are thoughtless, indifferent or disin-terested in the presence of a friend, sweetheart, wife or husband, you can, in time, lose that individual’s regard and respect for you.

“He used to shower me with every courtesy and attention,” a young, disillusioned married woman said to me, recently. “But now he just takes me for granted. When we go places, he acts as though he hardly knows I’m along—or cares. He has his eyes for other young women and centers his attentions on them, turning his charm and his entertaining qualities in their direction. Then, when the time comes to go home, he suddenly remembers I’m around somewhere and picks me up, telling me what a wonderful time ‘we’ve’ had!” Yes, there are plenty of men and women like this, BUT quite often the mate so treated is partly to blame. In this case, the young married woman admitted that she didn’t get a big bang out of her husband’s witticisms and attempts to be the life of the party. This being true, he naturally satis -fied his urge for social expression on those who gave him an appreciative audience —and let his wife sit it out. Had she shown him that she liked his attentions, that they meant as much to her as they had in the days of their courtship the chances are he would have tried standing on his head in the parlor—if he knew this would please her.

We all like to “star in someone’s life,” to be the focal point of attention, to know that someone loves us and cares about what happens to us, how we feel, what we do and think. If our mate loses interest, most of us seek understanding compan-ionship elsewhere. A self-centered man or woman can drive a mate to drink. He or she may not realize what this interest in self is doing to a life partner. You’ve met the type: “Oh, darling, I’ve had a perfectly miserable day today. The washing machine broke. .. and Mary ruined that new dress climbing a fence . . . and I had a run-in with our land-lady... and. .

Everything happens to such an individual who dramatizes these events. Perhaps the husband has had a rough day at the office and tries to communicate this fact: :That is tough, dear, but wait till you hear what’s happened to me...!” This is as far as he gets. She’s not interested in his story, and she hasn’t half finished with hers. Each day is just a succession of unhappy episodes involving herself. She has no time or desire to learn about and to sympathize with what her husband has encountered. It’s “me—me—me” all the time until he can’t take it any more and ends up at a bar or tavern, pouring out his own hard luck to some equally dissatisfied man or woman who, like himself, is seeking an understanding listener.

Attention, personal attention, is a deep craving of the human soul. But we mustn’t drive our loved ones away by demanding complete attention and not giving any. There is a time to listen and a time to talk —but, of the two, listening pays the finest, happiest dividends.

These are just a few of the mental and emotional attitudes that prevent people from getting along with one another. It boils right down, in the last analysis, to the need for developing control of your mind and emotions. You will constantly have to adapt yourself to the changing moods of friends and loved ones. Don’t let things they say or do, when they get disturbed, upset you. If you react in kind, you only make matters worse. Let the situation blow over. Play it down instead of up, or walk out on it until the atmosphere clears. Don’t hold ill feelings or grudges. They will build up in you until you are tempted to blow your own top. If you remain master of yourself, you will be able to master conditions and others around you. Getting along harmoniously with others can be accomplished best by getting along with yourself first.

                      THOUGHTS TO BUILD INTO YOUR LIFE

                    To get along with others, I must develop the ability to

                     adapt myself to their differ-ences in temperament,

                     personality, mental and emotional attitudes, likes and


                    I cannot expect others to adapt themselves to me.


                    I resolve now, however, not to live in fear of what

                     others may think of me.

                    I am assuming a “live and let live” policy.

                    I will not criticize or find fault with others. Instead,

                     I will look for the good in them and things they

                    are doing that I can commend.

                    As much as I care for my home, my personal

                    possessions, the love I have for things—I will not

                    put these ahead of people, of my dear ones.

                  I will keep from being self-centered by paying

                 attention to the needs, desires and interests of others.


                 I will always remember that the best way to get

along with others is to be able to get along with myself.





          By: Harold Sherman, (pgs. 190-201)

Second Printing.....April, 1966

                    PRENTICE-HALL, Inc.

                    Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey


                                         Portions of this book appeared previously in

                                         TNT - THE POWER WITHIN YOU.

                                         By Claude M. Bristol & Harold Sherman

                                                             Copyright 1954. By Prentice-Hall, Inc.

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