“If you have learned to love, then happiness will surely knock on your door,” says the book Engineering Happiness – A New Approach for Building a Joyful Life.
The fact is surrounding yourself with people you love is one of the most important contributors to your health, mental well-being, and happiness. And no, I’m not talking about Facebook friends and Twitter followers. I mean the caring, supportive relationships we have with our spouses, families, and friends that give us strength and bring immeasurable joy into our lives.
In today’s rushed world, it’s easy for us boomers to get sidetracked with all our responsibilities. At a time when we’re often at the peak of our careers, caring for teens, and scrambling to take care of aging parents, it’s easy to neglect relationships. Or perhaps you’re like me. Like most writers, I have a tendency to be an introvert. I can happily spend hours alone at home writing in my office or reading a book. Although I deeply cherish my family and friends, I don’t always have a strong drive to be with other people.
That being said, I know that it’s in my best interests to push aside any anti-social tendencies, make time in my busy schedule, and nurture the relationships with my husband, children, grandchildren, family, and friends.
Like most valuable things in life, maintaining relationships with the people we love requires time and conscious effort. If you’re ready to reset your priorities and spend more quality time with friends and family, the following five tips can help create happier and more meaningful relationships in your life:
- This first suggestion may surprise you, but sometimes loneliness stems from insecurities. Work on your self-confidence. Remember that you are a unique individual and have something special to offer. It’s hard to establish meaningful relationships with other people if deep down you don’t feel that you’re worth another person’s love.
- Show genuine interest, remain curious about your loved ones, and be a good listener. Have honest, deep conversations to discover what passions you share with friends and family. Pay close attention to what other people value the most and make the effort to connect with them on that basis.
- Practice the golden rule and treat others as you wish to be treated. True friendship requires mutual respect, unselfishness, kindness, consideration, thoughtfulness, and genuine care for the other person. Be there in times of happiness and grief. A kind expression, an empathetic smile, or a gentle hug goes a long way.
- Don’t be a fault-finder. A critical, judgmental, unforgiving attitude can drive people we love away. Remember, no one is perfect. Be empathetic and compassionate. Regularly express your gratitude and love to friends and family for all their care and support.
- I wrote about the importance of a positive attitude in a previous blog, but you will have more meaningful relationships if you are an optimist. Positive, happy people make other people feel good and brighten up a day simply with their presence. Have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself.
Take an inventory of all the people who care, and then make the effort to maintain your relationship with them by following these five tips. As Barbara Bush said, “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”