So, which of the following deserves the most focus for achieving our best quality of life:
- Maximum health?
- Loving relationships?
- Building wealth?
It’s kind of a trick question. Of course we want it all, and a 75-year Harvard study suggests that in order to achieve our best, most fulfilling quality of life (having it all), we should focus on Loving Relationships.
For 75 years, the Harvard researchers have tracked the lives of 724 men, year after year, asking about their work, their home lives, their health. They have drawn conclusions on the lives of nearly all the participants (only about 60 are still alive), and according to Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one thing surpasses all the rest in terms of importance: “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” (transcript of 13 minute TED talk).
So, how can we build the kind of relationships that will help us have better health and happiness?
Surprise! …this is not easy for most of us. In order to have the kind of relationships that reward us most, we have to reach out to those we care about …or those we might care about if we got to know them. We need to give without expecting anything in return. We need to be vulnerable and intimate.
Most of us are conditioned to avoid real closeness in relationships (peer or romantic) because of the vulnerability risks, and the fear of being emotionally hurt. Fortunately, the Internet has a plethora of helpful guidance on this topic. Here’s some good advice from seven TED speakers.
Another valuable article well worth the read.
And finally, a 15 minute guided meditation that Victoria and I often use.
Somehow, beginning 30 years ago, Victoria and I managed to overcome our personal issues to create the amazing relationship we enjoy today. And, as good as this is, we realize that more is better. We’re always seeking new quality relationships.
Don’t be surprised if we reach out to you, my friend …to deepen our connection. And don’t hesitate to reach out to either of us. We’d love to hear your take on this subject.