Harvard Study of Adult Development is one of the longest-running studies on happiness.
The project has followed 724 men since they were teenagers in 1938. (Approximately 60 men, now in their 90s, are still left.) The group consisted of men from various economic and social backgrounds, from Boston’s poorest neighbourhoods to Harvard undergrads. President John F. Kennedy was even part of the original group. Over the years, the researchers have collected all kinds of health information, and every two years they ask members questions about their lives and their mental and emotional wellness. They even interview family members.
The Harvard Study has found a strong association between happiness and close relationships like spouses, family, friends, and social circles. All those who had good relationships casual and dynamic were happy and their longevity increased. So we can say your longevity and happiness depends on the kind of relationship you have. As with everything, this relationship also comes with its own challenges. Let’s analyse those.
There are two kinds of relationships.
1- Casual / Quantity relationship
These are people who we meet and interact most of the time. When commuting to work, at the office, fitness group, business friends, neighbours, relatives, alumni, social service group etc. Even if we meet a stranger for a second time at a random place we tend to smile. We try to develop a relationship with them through a smile, offering food, helping them and so on. But when the relationship develops we will slowly start seeing their Negative tendencies.
1-Angry / violent
2-Procrastination / unreliable
3-Egoistic / selfishness / Envy
Sometimes we would be at the receiving end of their negative tendencies and vice verse.
I don’t want to elaborate on these qualities every one of us would have experienced these at various times.
The trick here is to expect such behaviour and be ready for this. Instead of getting disappointed take them as friends for quantity.
2- Dynamic / Quality relationship- Your close friends
Out of the first group we surely will land up with a friend/relative who doesn’t display these negative tendencies much. They don’t judge us, backbite us. They help us in all possible ways. Such are the friends whom we should not lose at any cost. Once you see such a relationship forming You need to involve yourself with honesty, trust, respect and open communication. This takes lots of effort and compromise from both people. But it is worth it.
This kural Beautifully explains the nature of human beings. No one is perfect. Everybody has both good and bad quality in them. If they have more good qualities they are good men. To enjoy their good qualities we need to tolerate their bad ones.
In the past did you lose any such quality friendship? If you feel that they had more good qualities than bad ones go ahead and extend your friendship and mend it. Call them or send them a text. Forgive them wholeheartedly. It is for your own good. Learning to identify types of relationship, being ready for disappointments, understanding the nature of human beings, mending broken relationships is key to having a long, healthy and happy life.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.
links to my other blog — How to face problems in our life.