Happiness is…REAL relationships

Happiness is…REAL relationships

by Nicholas Lim-Howe (Clinical Psychologist) 

One of the clearest findings to emerge from research into happiness is that humans are inherently social creatures. We all need other people in order to thrive. Yet the very thing that brings so much happiness can often also cause us the most distress. As a clinician I often hear of the difficulties in trying to form and maintain meaningful and happy relationships. With this in mind, here is a simple but useful acronym that I find useful in keeping relationships “real.”

Be …

Realistic – All relationships experience their ups and downs. It’s important to share and work through the disagreements that come our way, as well as our success. Adopting realistic expectations for our relationships by accepting the good with the bad is important to having both happy and real relationships.

Empathetic – Being able to put yourself into someone else’s shoes and identify what they are feeling/experiencing is an important part of being in relationships. This is often hard to do when we ourselves are experiencing potent emotions, as you would expect when interacting with people we care about. It’s important not only to take the time to listen to our friends/partners/children but practice empathy while we listen.

Accepting – We often say, “no two people are exactly the same.” Indeed one of the amazing things about being human is that it that we are all unique individuals. So why do we sometimes impose that our partners/friends should share the same opinion or view? At times it can be difficult managing our differences.  One helpful way may be to calmly discussing those differences or it may be appropriate to agree or disagree.

Loving – It’s important to regularly communicate our love and affection to each other. Sometimes this can be done with a touch, a squeeze, a hug, a kiss or a smile. Other times expressing what we like and love about our relationships can help grow and strengthen them, making them more resilient. Take some time not only to reflect what about your relationships you cherish but also to communicate this to that person.

Maintaining meaningful and positive relationships is crucial to our overall happiness. Yet real relationships at times can be testing. Sometimes an objective and experienced perspective is useful when trying to nurture relationships.

If you would like any further information or have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Nick via nick@makingchanges.com.au.