However much value I hold for the intellectual, I have to agree with a quote I recently read on OPB’s page in This Emotional Life section. According to psychologist Martin Seligman, “As a professor, I don’t like this, but the cerebral virtues—curiosity, love of learning—are less strongly tied to happiness than interpersonal virtues like kindness, gratitude, and capacity for love.”
These series of articles under the subject Connecting are fabulous reminders of how totally worth it it is to get our attention off our data bits and into others hearts and heads.
Our lives are, holy cow, full of anxieties. I’ll tell you frankly, I’ve often felt the intellects non-confrontational nature is the ultimate haven from pressure and negative feelings. But our books can’t share our success or disappointment. Even virtual interaction is only responding to what comes through our keyboard and, let’s admit it, much of that is limited and filtered.
Ironically, since we spend so much time running from one thing to another, many of us have become isolated as well. Isolation and stress equals prime breeding ground for depression and addiction.
How many lives have already been affected by that double whammy?
On the flip side, achieving and maintaining a connection with others gives us a haven in which to grow, a place where we can share our whole selves yet aren’t tempted to hide behind a facade of cynicism or a defensive shield.
The Connecting authors list the following ideas for bettering relationships with others:
Make time. Research has shown that happy couples spend at least five hours a week together talking.
Engage with people. Be present, attentive, and affirming.
Be supportive. Find out what the other person’s goals and challenges are. Be encouraging, and do what you can to help him succeed.
Share your admiration and gratitude. Remember what you first liked so much about a friend or partner? It’s easy to start taking that for granted. Make a point to give compliments.
Trust. Put your faith in others, and let it show that you believe they will not let you down.
Celebrate. Research has shown that a difference between good and poor relationships is how partners respond to each other’s good news. People who are close respond with enthusiasm and joy, rather than indifference, envy, or anxiety.
Play. Make time for fun, laughter, and goofing off, with nothing else on the agenda.
We all want a better life. This must include feeling a positive connection with others.
I love this list because its suggestions are specific and understandable but all three articles on the site are full of good points.
Take care and go check ’em out!