The longest study on adult development and life satisfaction was recently completed at Harvard by Robert Waldinger and his team—they were tracking 700 men over the course of 75 years.
This study is considered the most comprehensive study on human behavior ever done. Guess the one thing they learned…
So what does Robert conclude in the video?
“Warmth of relationships throughout life have the greatest positive impact on ‘life satisfaction.'”
Simple. Powerful. A no-brainer right?
Waldinger also said,
“…Over and over, over these 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned in to relationships, with family, with friends, with community.”
Another important conclusion was that without quality relationships we suffer more, don’t live as long and end up having more financial and health problems.
In other words, having good solid relationships is the key to a well-lived, fulfilling life and not having great relationships shortens our life and causes stress and illness.
But here’s my question: If relationship is the most important part of our lives, why then are there no classes in school teaching it?
Ever took a social skills class in school? How about an “intimacy 101 course?” What about a class on how to navigate conflict in a long term relationship or how not to blame others for your problems and instead take responsibility for them and do something about it?
If you haven’t, it’s probably because our education system is archaic and outdated. It’s time for a major change and it starts with us.
I want to challenge you to “lean-in” with someone you care deeply about (and might be taking for granted).
Pick your closest relationship, a friend or partner and say:
“I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you for being my friend. Having you in my life helps me in every way. I’m willing to work through hard stuff with you because I get that my relationships determine my life satisfaction.”
Don’t wanna play?
No problem. When we choose not to bring our respect and care to our relationships we choose to be another statistic of people who suffer more and don’t live as long.
It’s a choice.
And me? I got tired of complaining about the lack of relationship education so I decided to start my own school and teach the class you were never taught—Intimate Relationships. That way, whoever wants to can be more prepared for the intense and confronting nature of a long-term relationship.
P.S.: This was a study on men. Can we assume the same results would be found studying women?
The all-time best Buddhist tip for making relationships last:
Author: Jayson Gaddis
Image: Annie Spratt/Unsplash
Editors: Katarina Tavčar; Khara-Jade Warren