Cultivating Personal Relationships to Achieve Happiness - 5 Unique Life Lessons to Ponder

By Helen Holmes on September 10, 2012

Of course we need money, but we need more of love, companionship, and understanding from the people around us, especially our family and friends. That’s what experts uncover. Studies show that people who enjoy close ties to family and friends are happier, healthier and are less vulnerable to stress. Cultivating personal relationship is one of the best things you can do to live a more fulfilling life.

We often follow the norms society has instilled on our minds on how we are going to strengthen our personal ties with our partners, children and friends. But there are life lessons that even though they depart from the norm, experts found to help.

1.       Accept people as they are.

Sometimes, we think of changing other people, because that’s what we think is better for them. But according to Paul Coleman, a psychologist and author of "We Need to Talk": Tough Conversations with Your Spouse”, trying to correct someone else’s flaw usually backfires. The other person may think that he or she is not good enough, which smothers affection and creates distance. Whether that person changes, acceptance is the basic respect that keeps relationships solid, said Coleman.

2.       Seek a mate who is more like you.

They say opposites attract. But in love, it isn’t always the case.  When choosing mates, experts think it’s better to choose the one who shares the same beliefs, personality, values and traits with you. The more similarities there are, the fewer conflicts there will be, suggests Glenn Wilson, a psychologist at Gresham College in London. In his study, he asked a number of couples to complete a questionnaire wherein their similarities or differences on different aspects were measured. He found that couples who have comparable answers were more likely to have higher satisfaction rates on their love life.

3.       Give your child enough freedom.

Parents’ tendency to become overprotective of their child is understandable. No parent, in his reasonable mind, would want to see his child going astray. But experts suggest that it’s better to underparent than to overparent. Some parents, according to Hara Estroff Marano, author of “A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting”, overestimate the influence they themselves instilled on their child’s development. Assuming that your kids need you all the time may hurt them in the long run. Michelle Givertz, a relationship expert who analysed hundreds of parent-child relationships found that overparenting leads to depression-prone, aimless kids or adults, with diminished self-efficacy. Letting your child become overly dependent on you doesn’t help them build self confidence – an essential aspect of life.

4.       Arguing makes relationship stronger.

Many couples hate it when they quarrel. But research shows that arguing is necessary for the success of a relationship. Howard Markman, co-author of Fighting for Your Marriage, and a psychologist at University of Denver suggests that it’s how couples cope with the arguments that determine their relationship satisfaction. Don’t worry if you experience a decline in sexual desires after a year or so. That’s normal, experts say. But deep love remains for years, even for a lifetime.

5.       Seek out friends. Maintain them.

Having friends doesn’t only make you happier. It lengthens your life too. Good friends have a significant role in influencing lifestyle changes. Psychologist Bert Uchino from the Utah University said that the higher quality and quantity your social network is, the longer your life becomes.


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