I have written a piece previously about the significance of relationships to our overall well-being and happiness, from my personal experiences, working with my clients and quoting the results of the Grant Study – a 75 year study looking at the contributory factors for happiness and success and concluding that it is the quality of our relationships that has the biggest impact.
One of the professors conducting the study quoted the findings as:
“Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
So, what is a good/healthy relationship and what is a bad/unhealthy one?
It is not defined by your number of friends, whether you are in a long term committed relationship or how close you feel to someone, but a healthy/unhealthy relationship is determined by the ‘quality’ of it.
Things that are healthy are:
Things that are unhealthy are:
Difference (not having much in common – opposites attract, but generally do not live happy connected relationships)
I am sure that you can think of your own things to add to each list.
It is also true that we can find this connection in any relationship, be it with a romantic partner, family member, friend, or colleague.
Countries that come out on top of happiness studies around the world tend to enjoy supportive relationships as a cultural norm.
How can you cultivate these close relationships for yourself?
We all learn in childhood how to relate and in general the quality of those relationships will determine your ability to connect as an adult.
If you learnt that relationships are secure, then you are more likely to allow yourself a deeper closeness and intimacy as you have not developed a way of protecting yourself from pain that you would have if you had experienced something insecure.
Check your unhealthy list for reasons why your childhood relationships may have caused you pain.
You will also have developed a sense of self, whether you are worthy of love or positive regard and this will again determine what you allow for yourself as far as your relationships are concerned (I write a lot more about these in my book The P.E.O.P.L.E. Programme).
Understanding what may hold you back from allowing a deeper connection with others is how you start to change the quality of your relationships. These factors do not only stop you from allowing healthier relationships, but they keep you attracting unhealthy ones.
You can let other people in and live with happy, fulfilling and successful relationships if you decide to do so.
Be good to yourself