Relationships: The Ends and Not the Means!

Did you know that relationships can have a big impact on your happiness and success? In their book, The Good Life, Waldinger & Schulz highlight just how important relationships are in shaping our well-being. Your relationships are not just a means to an end or a way to get what you want; they are an end in themselves. The book covers different aspects of relationships, including how they affect our lives, how we can make them better, and how they fit into the bigger picture. Moreover, relationships are the backbone of our Rudder4Life Personal Development Framework, which we encourage young adults to adopt to bring out the best in themselves.

The book’s emphasis is that relationships are the foundation of our lives. They shape our well-being and happiness, and we continue to grow and develop throughout adulthood, particularly as a result of our relationships and life changes. Our connections with others are essential for our personal growth and development. Therefore, building and strengthening our relationships can improve our overall quality of life.

To build our relationships, the authors recommend that we first recognise their importance and prioritise them. We must take stock of our relationships and identify the most important connections in our lives. Once we have identified these relationships, we can take proactive steps to strengthen them, adhering to the elements of good relationships:

  • Security and safety – Do you have someone you can rely on and turn to during a challenge?
  • Growth and learning – Who inspires you to pursue your goals and encourages you to try new things?
  • Emotional closeness – Is there one person you confide in most? Whose advice do you trust?
  • Shared experience and identity affirmation – Do you have siblings or old friends with whom you’ve shared identity-forming life experiences?
  • Romantic intimacy – Do you feel satisfied with the degree of intimacy and sexual connection in your life? Who fulfils these needs?
  • Help and assistance – Who helps you solve practical problems (for example, getting a ride to a medical appointment)?
  • Relaxation and fun – Think about the people you enjoy being with and laughing with. Who contributes to your sense of joy and feeling of being connected?

Another way to build our relationships is by showing others that we care. We can do this by giving them our time and attention, which is a valuable commodity in today’s fast-paced world. Prioritising our relationships and investing time and effort in them, we can build stronger connections with the people who matter most to us and take the steps to improve the health of our relationships and our mastery of our emotions. The authors recommend the WISER model to respond better to emotionally challenging events and to enhance your relationships:

  • Watch – Take a moment to observe the situation closely and consider as many aspects of it as possible. Have you missed something important?
  • Interpret – Identify what’s at stake and strive to gain greater insight into why you’re feeling strong emotions. Have you made any false assumptions?
  • Select – Carefully identify and weigh your options, reflecting on what you hope to accomplish and your best means of doing so.
  • Engage – Respond by executing your chosen strategy with skill.
  • Reflect – Learn from the incident, reflecting on what went well and what you might do differently next time.

So, communicating and listening with empathy create more satisfying and beneficial relationships, leading to more fulfilling connections with others and an improvement in our overall well-being.

Additionally, given that we spend most of our waking hours at work, it is essential to make the most of our connections with others in the workplace. Building positive relationships with our colleagues can improve our job satisfaction, overall well-being and success at work.

Moreover, the authors emphasise relationships are not just important for our well-being; they are also essential on a collective level as humanity seeks sustainable solutions for global challenges. Building strong connections with others means we can work together to address the challenges that face our world.

In a world that’s increasingly fast-paced and individualistic, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s truly important: our relationships. From our family and friends to our colleagues and acquaintances, our connections to others are what give our lives meaning and purpose. Prioritising our relationships and investing time and effort in them can improve our overall well-being, happiness and success. Whether it’s in our personal lives or the workplace, relationships are the foundation of our lives. By building and strengthening them, we can create a better future for ourselves and humanity as a whole. So, take the time to reach out to the people in your life, connect with them on a deeper level, and watch as your life becomes richer and more fulfilling than ever before. Trust us, it’s a worthy read!

Share this article