Instead of The Secret to Happiness, a better title may be The Secrets to Happiness. Because no one thing helps us find our happiness does it?
In the first two articles of our Secret to Happiness series, we are already discovering that knowing our values and then having them met helps us create our happiness. As does stepping into Our Warrior and being the cause of our experience of this life.
So what other secrets do we need to know to
~ feel, find, create, discover, rediscover ~
Well this one may surprise you,
but because no man or woman is an island, Friendship (yes, with a capital F!)
is a vital secret to happiness. And by vital, I really mean vital.
According to research by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Brigham Young University in Utah, USA, feeling lonely can pose a bigger risk for premature death than smoking or obesity. (A New Public Health Challenge Emerges, Vic Health Blog).
So the evidence is there – our Friendships not only help us feel happy, they help us feel happy and healthier for longer. Who’d have thought those coffee catch-ups, cheese nights and cycling Birthday celebrations were actually life saving?! I didn’t think they could have gotten better, but they just did!
Friendship is a funny thing though isn’t it?
Friendship is perhaps the most sacred of all the relationships we Humans share with each other because it is the only one we freely choose.
In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis talks about how powerful Friendship is.
It is a relationship between men at their highest level of individuality.
It withdraws men from collective ‘togetherness’ as surely as solitude itself could do; and more dangerously, for it withdraws them by twos and threes. Some forms of democratic sentiment are naturally hostile to it because it is selective and an affair of the few. (The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis, Geoffrey Bles, 1960)
Our history, ancient and modern, is full of tales of the members of groups of activists, fighting for a common cause, being banned from meeting and associating by the powers in charge? Powerful indeed, when folks who share nothing but a common cause or interest choose to spend time together!
And this really resonates with me because it goes some way to helping me understand the nature of Friendship and why it is one of our secrets to happiness.
As Lewis adds:
Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like: ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.’
(The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis, Geoffrey Bles, 1960)
And isn’t the thought that we aren’t the ‘only one’ of wondrous comfort as we strive to make sense of and indeed enjoy this confusing, inexplicable, challenging and beautiful journey called Life?