Would you be happier if you invested more in relationships?

Are relationships are an important element in our happiness?

I have written about many factors that people have identified as contributing to happiness. One such factor is the quality of our relationships. This is one on which experts disagree. I will explain why later. But first things first.

What do I mean by ‘relationships’?

Nowadays, we often use this word when we mean ‘sexual relationships’. Other possibilities are work, business and family and friendships. Whilst it is important to look after business and other aspects of our lives, family relationships are the ones the experts think matter most in this context. But don’t neglect the other ones. I was temped to write ‘invest in people’. However, I am aware of an oganisation of that name which gives accreditation to businesses for good personnel policies and practices. I don’t want to confuse you.

What do I mean by ‘invest’?

You can invest money. You can also invest time and effort. Where relationships are concerned, time and effort are what we most need to invest, although money may come into it. It is about priorities. We can get so obsessed with other things that families and friends get … well, not forgotten, but you know what I mean. When you are old, you are unlikely to say ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office’. You could find you have got out of touch with everyone you used to know.

Controversial? Who thinks relationships aren’t factors in happiness?

It seems some of us are natural introverts, recluses even. Such people find relationships are hard work. I mean, harder than they are for everyone else. Following this advice, for them could be stressful. Some people are happier to be left alone. Is that in their best interests? Unfortunately, they often want to be alone only some of the time. Other times they do want company. If you are one, don’t leave it too late to invest in people, or you will become a total recluse. You may have to make an effort.

Do you want to be a hermit or develop relationships?
Do you want to be a hermit or develop relationships?
What do I think?

Personally, I think it is important to know yourself. Be yourself. I said that somewhere else. See The First Step to Happiness: Don’t be a Basil Fawlty!

Just be aware of the issue and be yourself, but make it a conscious decision.

If you are looking for happiness: thank people who have helped you.

Another step towards happiness: thank people

I have written about many factors that have been found to contribute to happiness. See for example What do you do when you have a catastrophe?

Another way to happiness that I have recently read about is giving thanks. For Christians this usually means thanking God. Not a bad idea. But I am talking about thanking people.

Isn’t it just good manners?

I am not talking about saying ‘thankyou’ every day, whenever someone does something helpful. Of course, I hope you do. What I am talking about is making an effort to thank people who have helped you in the past.

  • A teacher
  • a coach
  • a mentor
  • Someone who gave you confidence
  • Someone who gave you useful advice

Do you remember them? Are you in touch? Could you write to them, letting them know how helpful they have been? It may be worth a little effort.

It is better to thank people in writing
It is better to thank people in writing
Do I thank people in this way?

This is something I have never thought about until recently. I have read that remembering to thank people in this way can add to your happiness as well as theirs. How does that work? I don’t know but I think I might try it. What have I got to lose? What about you?

Are you happily churchgoing? Or are you going to the wrong Church?

Do you have problems with churchgoing?

I have written How to Cope with the Church  https://tsw.createspace.com/title/6534903 and I have tried to address the question of whether being a Christian necessarily means going to church http://ezinearticles.com/?Is-Churchgoing-a-Necessary-Part-of-Christian-Faith-or-Are-There-Alternatives?&id=9672807.

Here is another aspect of the issue of churchgoing.

Many people do not realise that their choice of church can be really important. It is all too easy to assume they are all more or less the same. If you are not happy in the one you have been going to, you cannot see how you would benefit by simply going to a different one, whether of the same denomination or not.

Does your preacher's style help your churchgoing?
Does your preacher’s style help your churchgoing?
What’s different about another church?

If you are aware that churches differ, you might be under the impression it is all about doctrine. That is the exact set of beliefs each church follows. Surely that was the reason for all the different denominations? Did they not break away from each other due to disagreement on certain things? Yes, and No!

Often small differences got blown up out of proportion. Sometimes the issue was not so much belief about God or the Bible, but about organisation. Some were more democratic than others, but that has largely changed, although the details of governance are different from one denomination to another. Usually, these points are of more concern to the clergy than to the man or woman in the pew.

As to differences of belief, you are likely to find as wide a variety of views within most churches as between them, on all but the basic essentials.

What matters to you for your churchgoing?

Have I contradicted myself? Did I say the choice of church was important, only to go on to say it is not? What I mean is that the difference between two churches of the same denomination can be as great as between denominations. What is more important for most of is not the finer points of doctrine, it is more down to earth. Literally.  Do be prepared to look at churches belonging to different denominations, unless you have a strong reason for keeping to the same one.

The things you need to ask yourself when choosing a church are not what its official view is on interpreting a particular verse of the Bible, think rather about the following points.

  • What kind of music do they use?
  • How formal are the services?
  • Is the preaching interesting and relevant?
  • Are there other opportunities to learn about the Bible or the faith?
  • What arrangements are there for children and teenagers?
  • How pleasant is the overall experience?
  • What activities are there, apart from Sunday worship?
  • How do they engage with the community?

If you look, you will be surprised how varied churches are. You need not be a square peg in a round hole. Seek and ye shall find!