The Handful of Sand Principle

Welcome to A Handful of Sand. The purpose of this blog is to explore concepts related to a person’s internal psychology — emotions, mental habits, potential errors in thinking — with the ultimate goal of improving one’s relationships with others. I am excited to be starting this project, and grateful that you have decided to give it a chance.

Before anything else: why is this blog called A Handful of Sand?

This is based on one of the principles — probably the most important principle — that has helped me maintain and nurture my seven-year (and counting) relationship with my romantic partner. I am certainly not the first person to come up with this principle, and I don’t know where it comes from or who first thought it up. The only thing that matters is that it works, and it has worked for me for seven years.

The principle is this: I hold onto our relationship softly. Unpossessively. Like you would hold a handful of sand. You can only hold onto it by grasping softly. The moment you tighten your grip in fear, in possessiveness, in greed — that’s the moment when the sand starts flowing out of your hands.

That old idea, “If you love something, let it go”, has a strong grain of truth in it. If I were to amend it to help express the principle above, I would say, “If you love something, hold it softly.”

I have found that if I hold on to the relationship this way — always with an open gate, without jealousy, with trust — then the relationship becomes self-strengthening. Trust and a lack of jealousy lead to gratitude and commitment, which lead to more trust and lack of jealousy. The more I apply the Handful of Sand Principle, the more the love grows.

What does this entail, in practical terms? To give one example, my romantic partner will occasionally go out for drinks with an old friend who used to be attracted to her, and in whom she was also interested. I know about this, and I encourage it with a smile, never asking where they went or what they did. It doesn’t bother me — because I have decided to hold onto to our relationship without jealousy.

For my part, I am lucky enough to be surrounded every day (at my office job and also at my weekend classes) by many attractive, intelligent, ambitious, inspiring women. My romantic partner has often heard me talk admiringly about these female colleagues and friends of mine, and it doesn’t bother her one bit — because she has also decided that there is nothing to gain through jealousy.

By doing things this way, we constantly give each other even more reason to love each other and come back to each other every time. Again, the relationship becomes self-strengthening. Would you rather stay with a jealous and possessive partner, or one who gives you a smile and a hug as you go off to meet your friends, and then welcomes you back with open arms at day’s end?

Of course, the Handful of Sand Principle works best when both partners in the romantic relationship apply it. I am fortunate that, right from the start, I found a person who is naturally unpossessive and not at all jealous. The application of the principle was mutual. Yes, I was lucky, and I know that not everyone is. But I believe that a relationship that is shadowed by jealously, possessiveness, and distrust is not a relationship worth keeping — or even starting. Find the right person, someone un-jealous, someone who is willing to apply the principle for you, as you would for them.

And then hold each other softly.

Thank you for reading the first post on A Handful of Sand. Join me as we continue the journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. We are all students of life, and we have plenty to learn from each other. I’d love to have you along for the ride.

[If you wish to leave a comment, please use the “Leave a Comment” link just below the title of this post.]

3 thoughts on “The Handful of Sand Principle

  1. Beautifully written, Dave! I’m sharing your blog to one of my friends. 🙂 I think this will help her. Congratulations on your blog and I look forward to reading more entries!


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