Happiness in Positive Relationships

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Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.



By: Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.

Fort Fairfield Journal, March 10, 2010

What is the thing that can most quickly make you miserable? What is the thing that is absolutely guaranteed to trash your day? I'll tell you what it is, it's conflict. That is, interpersonal relationship conflict.

It might be your boss; you walk into work, you're in a great mood, your boss snaps at you or criticizes you and your day changes instantly. It might be your spouse, where you walk into the room and get snapped at or something goes wrong and you snap at your spouse. Your teenager might be rebelling and speak unpleasantly to you. Your parents clamping down on you or being disrespectful to you. Those forms of conflict are the quickest way to become unhappy.

According to a new poll conducted by the Associated Press and MTV, the most pertinent factor for happiness in young people between the ages of 13 to 24 is their family relationships.

Over 1200 young people were interviewed and it was determined that the number one thing that made them happy was spending quality time with family. Isn't that fabulous? I thought it was wonderful news. That teenagers weren't equating their happiness with a new clothing style, or some hot party they could attend. Instead, they placed their family and relationships foremost in their lives.

Some of these answers just made me smile. The top answer to the open-ended question, “What makes you happy” was spending time with family. Secondly, spending time with friends - again more relationships - and third was spending time with a significant other.

In our materialistic society, we're told erroneously by the mainstream media that being beautiful or having liposuction, or getting a nose job, or becoming famous, or becoming wealthy, or playing video games is the key to happiness. Despite how much the mainstream media would like to convince us that family relationships are "ho-hum" and boring, the reality is that young people value those relationships and thrive on them. When you actually come right down to it, those relationships are the single most important predictor of happiness.

The top three indicators of happiness are relationships with family, friends and significant other. Now that is the order for those who are not yet married. I would say for those who are married or in a long-term, committed relationship, the order might be significant other first, family second, then friends, third. You can juggle them around but you can't get away from them.

So if you're looking for a little happiness in your life, it's those positive relationships that will bring it every single time no matter what is going on in the world around you.

This editorial was transcribed and adapted for print from a recent Katherine Albrecht radio program, by David Deschesne, with her permission.  Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D. is a syndicated radio talk show host on the Genesis Communication Network. Listen to her program live daily, or download her podcast for listening at any time at www.gcnlive.com Katherine’s website is:  www.katherinealbrecht.com