Why You Should Focus on Your Relationships

This doesn’t seem like a college topic right off the bat, but I assure you, it is. It’s also a general life topic. The thing is, good relationships are the key to happiness.

I got interest in the topic of happiness when thinking about my goals for the coming year in college. I came across this TED talk (cited below) speaking about a study where they followed different people throughout their lives for 75 years. These people had the same goal as current millennials; to become wealthy. Yet the happiest people at the end of the study weren’t the wealthiest, but the ones with the best relationships.

Many religions and cultures have a crucial point in friendships, family, and community. Some quotes regarding that are:

“Friends always show their love. What are brothers for if not to share troubles?”- Proverbs 17:17

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said “The example of a good companion (friend) in comparison with a bad one is like that of one who sells musk and the blacksmith.  From the first, you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell, while from the blacksmith you would either get burned or smell a bad scent. [Bukhari] 

In the very short Mitta Sutta, or discourse on friends, the Buddha tells his monks to seek out friends with seven qualities: “He gives what is hard to give. He does what is hard to do. He endures what is hard to endure. He reveals his secrets to you. He keeps your secrets. When misfortunes strike, he doesn’t abandon you. When you’re down & out, he doesn’t look down on you. A friend endowed with these seven qualities is worth associating with.”

It’s interesting how many different faiths from different parts of the world and throughout history preach a similar ideal.

That’s why I made a goal for myself this semester to do a few things;

  • Stay sincerely close to my family, calling them and giving them quality time.
  • Making new friends and retaining old ones, and constantly evaluating whether those friendships are honest and not toxic.

Are you surprised by this key to happiness? Let me know!

The TED talk: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/23/harvard-grant-study-robert-waldinger-ted/?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits

 

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