Living a healthy life means living a life full of social interaction, healthy relationships and a life filled with people who make you happy and you return them the same feeling unconditionally. But this is all like a chess game – one wrong move and you lose it all. If your goal is to lead a happy life, you should indeed cultivate connection.
People who enjoy healthy friendships and family relations are happier, have fewer health problems and can overcome stress more easily. When it comes to relationships, it is best that you approach them carefully and with wisdom and understanding.
We’ve created a list of five lessons which may help you improve your social life and strengthen your relationships with the blink of an eye.
- Instead of trying to fix them, accept them.
If your first choice is to try to change the people you’ve grown fond of, think again, as you might lose them. This refers to our partners, friends, parents and grown children who have already shaped their personality and habits. What you may perceive as being ‘right’ may be ‘wrong’ in the eyes of the others, and reality is but what we make of it – our perception and our personality and habits define it, just as the other people’s do. Our efforts to ‘correct’ someone else usually backfires, as it gives the other person the sense that we perceive ourselves as being smarter and better than them, posing ourselves as superior to them. This sense creates resentment and rejection and brings no change at all.
Instead of ‘fixing’ them, try looking inward to fix the problem. Ask yourself what can you make out of the situation and how can you create a compromise between the different attitudes towards the problem for a better outcome. Understand that you need to live with that person as he/she is, not as you want them to be, as the only person you can change is yourself.
So, next time your partner doesn’t want to go to a party crowded by people he/she couldn’t care for less, try to find what you two would like best for the night and do that thing instead, or just go alone and give him/her some time for themselves. If your son chooses to forgo college for now, try to be enthusiastic for his ambition to start working and gain experience which money can’t buy or even start a career which may fulfill his life.
- Some benign neglect helps kids to grow up
You can’t always be the guardian angel of your child. Even guardian angels aren’t always there for us, as they let us learn and grow. Parents who want to jump in into every stressful situation for the child and save their children from the momentary stress are putting their children to a risk of them becoming incompetent and aimless on the long run.
This is of course out of love, but not accepting the fact that nature should influence the course of the child’s development (and this means all good and bad situations) means not accepting the child to grow up and face their problems as they come. If they don’t learn to face their minor problems (being said no for some things or doing something wrong that will backfire with minor consequences), they won’t be able to face the bigger problems in life when their turn comes.
Stepping in regularly to protect kids from stress may hurt them in the long run. It may lead to depression-prone, aimless kids (and ultimately, adults) who lack the ability to achieve goals. Entitlement is another side effect that will backfire when these kids grow up.
Being entitled to everything they want in life when they were young, without putting any effort into it, makes them lack the ability to achieve what they want when they become independent, if they ever succeed to do so.
It is much better to let kids live through occasional disappointment and resolve their own problems as much as possible. Of course you should assure them that their feelings are heard and that your moral support is always there for them. Trust in their competence to overcome obstacles and help them grow and become self-sufficient.
- Total opposites don’t forever attract
The key to a happy, healthy relationship is choosing someone who validates your views and habits. Do not underestimate the importance of shared values, personality traits, closeness in age, and other binding factors. This, however, doesn’t mean that the partner should be your personality replica and having differences adds the needed spice for a healthy and dynamic relationship.
It is simple: being overly similar with your partner can rather lead to a bit of a brother-sister relationship which is too predictable and without a lot of novelty. On the other hand, having a partner who is the complete opposite of you in every aspect means that you won’t be able to find a common ground.
The golden mean is to have a partner whose passions differ from yours so you can expand your experience, personality and understanding, but at the same time be sure you are aligned on big-picture issues: ways of showing affection, views on morality and raising children.
- Social interaction matters a lot
The secret to living longer is not only what you eat and how much you exercise. Friendships are just as important. In fact, studies have shown that the more active your social life is, the less likely it is for you to die of any cause – up to a 50% less! A low level of social interaction has the same negative effect as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Having friends who have your back helps you face stressful situations more easily – their support and encouragement is more than enough for you to face the day and its perils. Even a good job done is not something to be happy about, if there is no one you can celebrate your success with, even with a smile.
- Lust wanes, love remains
It is not true that a relationship’s end can be seen with the end of the romantic excitement and the beginning of the arguments. The immature part of us believes that compatible people don’t have conflicts. On the contrary, a healthy relationship consists of arguments too, but it’s the way couples argue that matters. A healthy couple will argue to let their misunderstandings out so they can be sorted out.
Both partners take responsibility for their missteps and through the quarrel do they start appreciating their common effort to overcome the problem before it piles up and becomes a heavy burden.
And yes, it is normal for desire to wane. Deep love comes after desire wanes, as we start seeing how imperfect the other is and choose to commit to them anyway.
The best way to restore connection is initiating something new in your sex life and sometimes it’s as simple as tidying your workplace as the piled up mess has been annoying her for months. Simple as it is: people know what warms their partner’s heart.