Reflections on well-being

Research on well-being is teaching us a simple truth that the business world would not like us to know:  Well-being is not about money, but about our relationships.This truth is so hard to handle that you’d struggle to find a school anywhere in the world that covers the subject of relationships in its curriculum. The education system is preparing us not for a happy life but for a productive life, the idea being that the more productive you are, the more money you earn, and the happier you are. We end up contributing to the economy like cogs in the big machine that drives us with the greatest incentive on earth – money.

But most recent studies on what really makes people happy provide us with a different picture. Ultimately it is our relationships with family, friends and community that make the biggest difference to our well-being. Investing in relationships is investing in what makes you flourish. And when you flourish, is it good for the economy? For others? Hmmm – a good question.

In authentic relationships, we touch each other’s hearts and this can be a profound experience of healing and transformation. What inspired me to write this to you was the French movie, Special Treatment, which I saw last week. The main characters – a therapist and a hooker – are totally engrossed in their own social roles until they touch each other’s hearts. I highly encourage you to watch it!

Some of you may find our upcoming relationship workshops helpful (listed at the bottom of this page). If they are not for you, I trust you to pass them on to someone who may benefit from them.

Beyond psychology

Some words of wisdom from great sages about Love and Relationships:

From LOVE by Leo Buscaglia:

“To the extent to which you know yourself, and we are all more alike than different, you can know others. When you love yourself, you will love others. And to the depth and extent to which you can love yourself, only to that depth and extent will you be able to love others.” “Perhaps the most positive word in the English language and the most conducive to continued growth in love is ‘yes.’ … A lover says ‘yes’ to life, ‘yes’ to joy, ‘yes’ to knowledge, ‘yes’ to people, ‘yes’ to differences.”

From The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Deepak Chopra:

“One does not fall ‘in’ or ‘out’ of love. One grows in love.”

“A great deterrent to love is found in anyone who fears change, for … growing, learning, experiencing is change. Change is inevitable. There is only one thing of which you can be certain and that is change. To deny change is to deny the only single reality. Attitudes change, feelings change, desires change, especially love changes. There is no stopping it, no holding it back; there is only going with it.”

“We need not be afraid to touch, to feel, to show emotion. The easiest thing in the world is to be what you are, what you feel. The hardest thing to be is what other people want you to be.”

“As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming.”

Love and freedom by Osho

“If you make relationship conscious – that means being mindful – then there is a totally different quality to it, a different beauty a different flavor; then it works. But it works because of consciousness, not because of love. Consciousness changes love from a relationship into relatedness; it changes it more into friendliness. It is no longer bondage, it gives freedom. The moment you become mindful you stop reducing the other to a thing. There is no legal bond. You live together out of freedom, out of joy. You want to share, that’s why you live together. And if that sharing stops you, simply say goodbye to each other with great respect, with gratitude. When love becomes friendliness there is no possessiveness in it, there is no exclusive- ness in it, there is no jealousy in it. And when there is no jealousy, no possessiveness, there is freedom. Freedom works, friendliness works. The moment love starts giving freedom to the other, then there comes a tremendous fulfillment out of it, because the greatest desire of man is freedom, not love. If one has to choose between love and freedom, then the conscious person will choose freedom and the unconscious one will choose love. Freedom is the ultimate desire of man. Man comes to flowering only in freedom. Let freedom be your center and love be your circumference, and you will have a total being, a whole being”.

Downloadable wisdom

Learned Optimism: Optimism is the character strength that has the strongest correlation with life satisfaction. Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, wrote a book about it – Learned Optimism – and Brian Johnson summarised it for us in a 20 minute talk. You can download and listen to Johnson’s talk via the link below.
Learned Optimism

The Five Elements of Well-being: In 2008, the UK government asked an independent body to look at all available research on well-being and report their findings in simple terms to the public. Download the amazing outcome of that project and hang it on your fridge:
Five Elements of Well-being

About the author:

Guy (Hagai) Avisar is a psychologist with more than 30 years of experience helping people with relationship issues


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