A relationship, a bond, a union, a friend, a family member, an interdependence, and an affiliation...It doesn’t matter what you call it, or the form it takes within one of these terms, the reality is that relationships are what matters MOST! Sure, we all “know” this but why is it that it takes a significant event like: the birth of a child, a wedding, or sadly during the grave illness of a loved one to become keenly aware of this again? Specifically, in the case of a loved one being in the autumn of their life and battling serious medical challenges, I am here as a gentle reminder for you that nurturing connections can’t wait!
It's never too late to nurture a connection
Yes, we “know” this but to better illustrate the point take a look at the well respected Grant Study of Adult Development that has been studying a group of Harvard graduates since 1939. Seriously… since 1939! In it, they have been studying countless topics and one touches on connectedness. Their research agrees that it is never too early or too late to nurture your relationships because these connections are indicators of one’s level of happiness.
They explain in their findings that our relationships with others, rather than how we view ourselves, or how much we have in our checking accounts, may be what matters most. When you look more closely, this isn’t a new concept, our cave–dwelling ancestors, created amazingly complex social structures to increase their odds of survival. Think about how much their connectedness meant to them? Life or death in many cases! Even for us it's life impacting. Read on…
Life satisfaction =Loving Relationships
Today our social connections and ways of connecting are much different but the benefits remain. One specific component of this study talked about how the lead researcher and his colleagues had found that life satisfaction (in this case for older men) was directly correlated to the capacity of loving relationships that they had.
As I reflect on this topic, I can’t help but think of an amazing man, who over the past 46 years of my life has proven this point that relationships are indeed the most important thing in one’s life. Specifically, him having dealt with debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 40 years and the pain and struggles that come with this condition, have shown me that his ability to be brave and put on a smile and keep going so he can live out his Limitless Spark (feeling like you are doing what you were meant to do) were fueled largely by his deep and nurtured connections with God, his wife, his children/grandchildren, and his friends and neighbors. My Dad, Gene Williams, is an incredible example of someone who continues even at the age of 74 to nurture the most important connections in his life. Even with the excruciating pain he endures every day, he is still one of the happiest, most loving, people I know.
Thank you Dad for always being such an incredible example to me. I love you.
Nicole Cavey is the Chief Pursuit Officer of Love What's Next. Through her personal journey to uncover what was next for her, she discovered that you can love where you are no matter what stage in life you are in... as long as you know how. Her mission is to show YOU how!