Your ability to manage your relationships is the key to your happiness. While most of us only think of our relationships as those with other people if we are to be happy we also need to manage our relationship with work and our relationship with a cause that is larger than ourselves.
It is also important to realise that it is not just your ability but also your willingness to manage these relationships that counts. The trick is to focus on your existing relationships and to find ways of adding value and getting mutual enjoyment and satisfaction from all three of them.
Sadly we are inclined to take our existing relationships with people, work and larger causes for granted. We tend to ignore them or do as little as we need to keep them from going sour. When we become disillusioned with them we make the mistake of seeking out new relationships as if they are the answer to all our problems and a great source of potential joy. Not so the way forward is to manage existing relationships and to get as much as possible as you can from them. The skills you learn when you do this will help you to add new relationships to your portfolio where and when the opportunity arises.
How to get happiness from the people you relate to
The key to getting happiness from your personal relationships is to work on them. Nurture them by listening carefully to the other person in the relationship. Learn about the things they worry about, what troubles them, what they want from life, what brings them joy, what interests them, what and who they like to talk about.
Focus on giving rather than taking from them. Reach out to them. Find ways to please them. Make life a little more interesting for them. Share your views, time, wisdom and concerns with them. Gently challenge them in helpful and pleasing ways. Make yourself available to them at their convenience. The trick is to fit in with them rather than have them fit in with you. To add joy and value to their lives and show how you appreciate the value they give to you.
How to get happiness from how you relate to your work
It is not just how you relate to people that makes you happy but also how you relate to your work. To be happy with your work you need to like what you are doing. To have the ability and skills you need to do it well. To get satisfaction from it and to excel at key aspects of it.
You also need to learn what is important to those you work for and work with. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds for people can have conflicting views and they don’t always mean what they say. So you need to be good at reading between the lines and picking up the vibes. Only then will you learn to know what is expected of you and how well your efforts to achieve this are viewed by those who count.
How to get happiness from a cause that is larger than yourself
One of the keys to happiness is our commitment to a cause that is larger than ourselves. This cause can be a religion. It can be a philosophy, career, profession, hobby or way of life. Our belief in a cause we like is a key to our well-being and happiness. The cause that we align ourselves with can be passed on to us by our parents but we need to make it our own and work out a position on it for ourselves on it.
For example, as devout catholics my parents brought me up as a christian. As I grew older it took me many years to come to terms with the difficulty I have with the churches doctrine on women, contraception and gay people to mention just a few issues that trouble me. So it was only when I rediscovered the Eight Beatitudes that I was able to resolve my position. And I now use them as general guidelines on which to base my life and values. They are values I can believe in and use to give meaning to my life and to that of others.