Ask anyone – what do you need to live the good life?
The majority of people will say to be rich, and over half of those people will say to be rich and famous. Is that what it takes to be happy?
Many will say they would be happier if they have a better job, and a better partner. Some will say they would be happier if they could lose ten more pounds, or if they looked more beautiful.
But how do we really know? Maybe you will get the dream promotion, and then you will be in the circles of the important people that you always dreamed of. Is that it? You will want more. We are humans, we are impatient by nature – we want what we want, and we want in now. We will always want the quick fix.
The longest adult study on happiness done in the world started seventy-five years ago in Harvard. They studied thousands of people over seven decades, and they found one common trait among the people who were happy.
The secret to happiness is simple: it’s having good relationships.
People who have good relationships with their family, friends, and community are considered to be the happiest – not the richest, not the most famous, and not even the most beautiful. But these relationships don’t just happen, you need to invest in them. They need work.
The key to happiness is really that easy. People with good relationships are the happiest and the healthiest. Humans are social beings; we need other people in our lives. And it’s not just about the number of relationships we have, but the quality of those relationships.
Our social connections save us. Knowing we have someone to turn to in good times and bad is extremely vital to our physical and emotional health. It is the genuine connections that we form in life that increase our happiness.
Loneliness kills because loneliness is toxic.
Research shows that people who feel lonely live shorter lives and their health and brain function also deteriorate sooner.
It is inevitable to have conflict in every relationship. By relationships I mean relationships with families, significant others, and the community. Relationships are messy, they are complicated, and they take a lot of work. We will most certainly disagree with someone we are close to at some point. It is the strength of the relationships that is important.
Are you holding onto a grudge for a stupid reason or for your ego? Let it go. The energy you waste holding onto the grudge is keeping you from being truly happy. You will be doing yourself a big favor when you forgive someone.
No matter what is going on, do you have people in your life you can turn to when you need someone? You may not be getting along, but will someone have your back when you need them? Will you have their back when they need you? It goes both ways.
If you had a crisis right now, who would you call? Who did you just think of?
The last two years of my life have been chaotic. I gave up a life in Maine to move to Nepal, and then gave up my life in Nepal to live in Chicago (for now). A lot changed in my life in a short time, I lived through the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal; it, quite literally, rocked my world.
I still remember when the ground started shaking that Saturday morning; my first thought was not my safety but the safety of my family and my dog. Those were the relationships that meant the most.
I haven’t always had the best relationship with my family; we have had our differences along the years, but I know that when I need them, they will be there for me regardless of anything in the past, and I will do the same. They’ve got my back and I got theirs.
I have been extremely fortunate to have amazing friends. The people I can always rely on – and they know that I am always here for them when they need me. Friendships that have lasted years, and overcome many challenges. It is these relationships that make me who I am. I have never needed people, I have wanted certain people in my life. I chose them and they chose me.
I am a people person; I can talk to almost anyone. When I meet new people, I am genuinely interested in getting to know them and potentially having them be a part of my life. How big of a part they want to be is up to them. In the last four months in Chicago, I have connected with some fascinating people and they continue inspiring me to know more. I am always making more friends and building more connections. It is important to me.
After all this, what will you choose to focus on? Reach out to the people you have in your life. Let go of insecurities and fear. Be real, and be genuine. Say what you mean, and keep your word. Be interested in knowing someone because everyone has a story, and they can be that important addition to your life.
The good life is built with good relationships with good people.
The only reason I have been able to overcome most obstacles is because I have people in my life, near and far, who will not let me fall. I can count on them, and that’s what counts.
A look at my life: I don’t have the perfect job, I am still not a best-selling author, I still don’t know what I am doing in life, and I still cannot bake a cake. But I have some wonderful people in my life. That is the secret to my happiness.
And for what I already have in my life, I am grateful, and I wish the same for everyone in 2016 and the coming years.
Because isn’t everything we do in life an attempt to be a little bit closer to happiness?