What if I tell you that one of the long lasting research ever monitored the lives of hundreds (now thousands) people for more than 80 years, asking questions related to their happiness, their feelings, what happened in their existence, and try to establish a correlation between life events and the way they felt?
Interviews concerned people from all walk of life, including someone who became president of United States, from the poorest suburbs to way more fortunate social extraction.
I have someone working with me who moved in from Cabo Verde, and took the job because it was conveniently located not far from where her family lived. Life events now made her quit the house she was in and made her move on the other side of the river, forcing her to a 4h daily commuting to come to work. She resigned.
She has the option to find an accommodation close to the work place, the same price she is paying today (with family, but she still contributes to the rent) but it was not an option.
She said something that made me think a lot: “it doesn’t matter what time each of us is coming home, but whenever that is, everyone gets out from the room to check on her”.
For that daily “are you ok?” alone, it was worth going back into the uncertainty to look for another job.
The relationship between the first and the second part of this post?
Well, the 85 years study, lasting over four directors, the last one of which made that incredible speech, found a not confutable truth: good relationships make our lives happier and healthier.
Tens of thousands of pages to figure that not money, not status, not possessions, not physical strength, not work, and not the type of careers we are in makes us happier.
Good relationships do.
I could not put my hand on the study, and I promise I will try harder (edit i did, it’s here) , but even with this little data, and thinking of my own family, where love is by far the largest asset, way larger than the material assets that could have provided maybe wealthier options, or better setting for successful careers, or even simply some more of those family holidays we clearly could not afford, I can tell that much: the study is right.
What is a good relationship? And to which ones this study applies? I asked myself.
Parents, family, friends, brotherhood? All of it?
Can someone without parents grow up replacing that bond with some other person?
I believe so.
I suppose that with every good relationship, comes love, generosity, selfless care, attention, true focus, quality time, perseverance, forgiveness, and the sources of it can be different and coming from more that one counterpart, and we can’t pick the family we get raised into.
What we can, thought, is choose to become that type of good relationship someone else will call, and be one of the assets for someone else happier life. As much as possible, to as many people as we can.