As peculiar as this might sound, I was recently inspired by the selection of lettuce at the supermarket: Boston lettuce, red-leaf, green-leaf, romaine, butter, field greens, and the plain, but ever-popular, iceberg. And it made me think of the variety of people in my life: white accountants, black doctors, gay therapists, male actors, female lawyers, young people, old people, rich ones and poor ones.

          We’ve been told that the key to a healthy diet is to include a variety of food groups. Perhaps the key to a healthy and balanced life comes from including that same dose of variety in our relationships. If this is true, then one would seek to have friends from a variety of different cultural and ethnic groups, as well as religious and political affiliations. For balance, we would seek out relationships with people of varying age groups, race, sexual orientation and social status.

           It’s clear that Spirit had an assortment in mind when it made the human race. No single person can satisfy all of our relationship needs. That’s why we have so many choices. And yet, the one thing we all share in common – and perhaps the only thing – is that we’re all individual expressions of the same Spirit. Each one of us has been uniquely designed to share a special gift with the world. No one can be duplicated or replaced. Every person offers something unrepeated in nature.

           Imbalance occurs when we don’t have enough diversity in our lives. We were not designed to live “by bread alone.” That’s why relationships with our biological family should hold equal value with our chosen, spiritual family if the two aren’t the same. Friendships are just as important to our psychological well-being as our families. Relationships with our pets also bring something unique to our lives that humans cannot. Variety is the key in creating a whole-life experience.

           When you rely on one person or one relationship to fulfill all of your needs, you apply undo pressure on that person and create a scenario that will ultimately lead to failure. To make one person your advisor, confidant, best friend, spiritual guru and lover is not healthy. Spread yourself around. Seek out new relationships regularly. Don’t depend on the same people for the same benefits.

           People are fascinating creatures and each one has something new to offer you. Don’t be afraid to extend yourself to them. After all, you have one very important thing in common with them – you come from the same life!

Rev. Chris Michaels is Senior Minister of the Center for Spiritual Living, Kansas City. He
is an outstanding speaker, counselor, teacher, author and friend. For more information
on Chris Michaels, check out his website:

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