We can do some phenomenal things individually, but there will never be still full potential unless we act collectively. There is strength in unity!
When we stand together for the same cause and we move in the same direction, i.e. when we have high-quality relationships, we can create something extraordinary.
We can surmount any challenges and accomplish any goal.
You can see it everywhere, from families to businesses, to sport, to communities, etc.
When relationships among people are great, magic happens.
You can feel the positive vibrations and emotions that come out of them.
Those emotions lead us to take empowering actions, which in turn result in great outcomes.
On the contrary, poor quality relationships negatively affect our inner harmony, leading us to a downward spiral.
They impact our lives even worse than loneliness does.
One study among many others suggests that poor quality relationships predict major depression.
And how is it possible to enjoy life and show up in the best possible way for ourselves and others when we feel depressed?
Therefore, relationships are one of the biggest sources of happiness in our lives, as I’ve stressed in a previous post entitled A STUDY REVEALS THE SECRET TO BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY.
However, in our frantic society, it’s so easy to get caught up in our responsibilities and commitments that we end up neglecting our relationships.
In other words, the pursuit of success makes people lose sight of the importance of taking care of this big source of happiness.
However, to show up for others, first, you have to make sure you show up for yourself.
That’s why working on our personal development daily is a MUST!
When we spend each day working on ourselves, our interconnection with other people tends to get better too.
When we learn to deeply understand our own needs, it’s easier to understand what other people’s needs are and help them to meet theirs too, thus it’s easier to connect with them on a deeper level.
Creating this deep connection with our fellow human beings requires patience, open-mindedness, compassion, and willingness to be vulnerable, as well as willingness to let go of the past.
It doesn’t happen by chance; it takes a lot of intentionality, effort, and practice.
You have to be open to put yourself aside, as well as in someone else’s shoes to understand what they are feeling.
Nurturing and building high-quality relationships with yourself and others is one of the best investments we could ever make.
Whether it’s friends, partners, family members, colleagues, investing time in building great relationships with them is worth the effort.
Many studies have proved that people who are more socially connected to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically, and mentally healthier and live longer too.
On the contrary, bad relationships are detrimental both to happiness and health.
So, it’s not important to have an awful lot of relationships, what truly matters is their high quality.
I just want you to think for a moment about your relationships.
How is your relationship with yourself? Do you spend enough time each day working on your personal development?
How are you showing up for your family, colleagues, friends, etc? Are those relationships making you feel happy or miserable?
When we have people that we know we can count on, people that we understand on a deep level, and people who understand us on a deep level too, no challenge that gets in the way can break us.
On the contrary, when we feel disconnected from ourselves and from others too, we feel fragile, thus it’s easier for us to be bent and broken by the challenges that life presents.
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided”. - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
I want to stress once more the strength of unity, of deep connection through the following inspirational story.
A BUNDLE OF STICKS
Once upon a time, an old man lived with his two sons who quarreled all the time.
He was very worried about his sons’ behavior and the unhealthy relationship between them.
Although they were well off and had everything they could want, they were unhappy.
They were moody most of the day and used to blame and complain about everything.
Not only were they arguing with each other, but they also behaved irrespectively towards other people to the point that they were left alone.
Nobody liked to hang around them.
The old man tried with all his effort to tell his sons how important respect for other people is, as well as to create healthy relationships.
“My dear, can you not see how everyone avoids you?
People don’t like to spend time with someone who always wants to make their point of view prevail.
People need someone willing to listen to their opinions, people, who are willing to question their perspective and embrace someone else’s”.
But, no matter how committed the old man was, his two sons kept misbehaving; the old man’s advice went in one ear and out the other.
Months went by and the father fell sick.
He summoned his sons and for the first time, he decided to teach them the importance of being united through a practical lesson.
“Here you are my dear sons, take one of these two sticks each of you and break them”, said the old man.
The two sons effortlessly broke them.
“Well done, now please do the same with this bundle of sticks”, said the old man.
Although each son tried their best, they were unable to snap the bundle.
“You see my dear; you easily broke the sticks when they were separated, on the contrary, you weren't even able to bend them when they were tied together”.
From that day on, the two sons understood the strength that comes from unity, and so, they started working on themselves to create strong and lasting relationships.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
There is strength in unity!
I bet you can agree that the best moments in your life have involved other people, haven’t they?
We feel good when we share our experiences, ideas, and thoughts with others, don’t we?
Our desire for high-quality relationships may be connected to a deep-seated psychological impulse: the need to belong (Baumeister & Leary, 1995).
After all, we are tribal beings, we used to live in tribes, and belonging to a group made the difference between living and dying, thus the need for belonging is ingrained in our DNA.
Aristotle, the legendary Greek philosopher, said:
“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual.”
Having said that, simply having a relationship is not enough, it can be detrimental as we have illustrated above.
So, make an effort today to work on yourself and to create deep high-quality connections with your family, with your colleagues, employees, and friends.
Become the bundle of sticks that cannot be broken, you are much more than a single fragile stick.
As sticks cannot be bent when bundled together, so you’ll not be defeated by the challenges you’ll face if you have built high-quality relationships.