While we typically think of romantic partnerships when speaking of relationships, relationships extend to every interaction we encounter. Our place in the family, society, and workforce all are built on relationships. The necessary skills to navigate each of these territories vary. We are *complex* beings. So what does it mean to flourish in relationships?
According to Dr. Martin Seligman’s research on flourishing, you are flourishing in your relationships If you believe:
Other people are the best antidote to the “downs" of life & the single most reliable “up" and my relationship needs are met through my friends, coworkers, family, partner, and pets.
And why is this important? Well, the goal is a more serious human goal than more people smiling, having good relationships, and having meaning in life. Dr. Seligman’s evidence is that the downstream effects are that people who are flourishing are physically healthier, more productive at work, and more peaceful than people who are not flourishing.
So, with that said, some examples of ways you have flourishing relationships could be: going home to visit family, virtual coffee chats with co-workers, or sharing a funny anecdote with your neighbour.
If you’re having trouble in this area — especially in our post pandemic era — work to expand and enhance your social support system. Go to the dog park - and actually say hi; ask your colleagues about their weekend and further the conversation. Make new friends and deepen your existing relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. It might not be as scary as you think and I promise, it’s worth it — at least it is according to science.