Close relationships and their incomparable value in our lives

Do you find it easy to make friends? Is closeness something you seek in your everyday life? Love, the greatest of all things in this world; is it easy for you? As you get older it becomes apparent that the many things we put value in, things we believed would bring us happiness, are in fact false. Money, fame, possessions, achievement…none of these endeavours comes close to the true source of happiness: relationships. When we realise the importance of close relationships and their incomparable value in our lives, we begin to notice just how much of our happiness, health, joy, and peace are all linked back to them.

Happiness: It’s everything!

There are two pillars of happiness. One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.

George Vaillant  
Triumphs of Experience

In the 1930s, Harvard University began a study, interested in the idea of what led to happy and meaningful lives. They asked over 200 freshmen to take part in a social experiment that spanned over 75 years. These men were asked to complete surveys and interviews on different topics like relationships, politics, religion, alcohol use, and coping strategies. What they discovered was that relationships really do matter when it comes to feeling happy and fulfilled. They found that people could have all the material success they could wish for, but if they did not have meaningful relationships, they were still essentially unhappy in life. Vaillant, who wrote his book Triumphs of Experience on this study, says that so many of the things people thought mattered when it comes to happiness, don’t.

Robert Waldinger, the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, who conducted the social experiment, said:

“Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too.”

Incomparable Value

Here at Mind, Body, and Soul, we are all about self-care, be that related to any of the three core foundations there mentioned. The thing is that healthy relationships are linked to the stability and well-being of all three core aspects. Without good relationships, without attention to our Mind, Body, and Soul, we are imbalanced. Moreover, study after study shows the clear links between the health of our whole person and the relationships we surround ourselves with. The isolation, mental decline, and physical health problems that are brought on by either bad relationships, weak ones, or none at all, are well documented.

Read my blog on loneliness for further reading on this subject and ways to combat it.

Close relationships. friendship. Happiness. healthy relationships.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

The incomparable value, therefore, of building and maintaining healthy and close relationships in our lives is paramount. We can read the science and research until the cows come home, but unless we ensure it in our own lives, we are missing the point. That’s not to say it is all plain sailing. Life is messy and complicated at times, but if we take the time to invest in the right people, we can sail through life a little more securely. By remembering a few simple principles, we can make relationships the core of our lives and find the incomparable value that they bring.

Quality, not quantity.

It’s an old adage, but it remains true and relevant in so many aspects of our lives. Quality, not quantity, is what we must seek in our relationships. You could be sat in a room with a hundred of your friends and still feel alone. Why? Because you have not any real connection with any of them. You only need one good relationship to feel valued, loved, supported and needed. That relationship can be found in a sibling, parent, spouse, partner, or a friend, but they will be someone whom you can feel safe with and trust implicitly. Yes we will have many companions in our lives, good friends or co-workers, family members too, who we enjoy life with. However, if we don’t invest in closeness with a valued few, we miss the blessing of that deep companionship.

So don’t worry if you look around yourself and feel the lack of many friends. Facebook friends and Instagram followers are superficial measures of relationship. Seek the depth and quality of true relationships and feel the benefit. The quality of a few close relationships will be all you need to ensure the companionship sought and the happiness desired.


To err is human, to forgive, divine. Familiar with this phrase? I think what it means is that as people we are all naturally flawed and will inevitably screw up at some point. However, to be able to remember this and apply it to those around us, and forgive, is not only important but essential. But more than that, it requires something else within us to forgive. It is the sacrifice of ego. When we are hurt, we feel it deeply and want to either retaliate, seek revenge, sulk, or cut that person out entirely.

communication. close relationships. forgiveness.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Now, of course, it depends on the severity of the transgression how you would see fit to deal with it, but in relationships, reconciliation should be sought wherever possible. It should never be our intent to wound another, but it does happen, and we need to be ready to seek and give forgiveness so that we can grow together and deepen our trust and understanding of one another. Close relationships are built on understanding, honesty, love and trust. But grace and forgiveness must underpin it all too.

Sometimes, however, it’s just not possible and the only healthy thing to do is go your separate ways. Abusive relationships for example are toxic and should not be endured. More on that later.


John, my husband, and I have always said from the start of our relationship that communication is fundamental to our success as a couple. But it’s not just romantic relationships. So many of the problems that occur in broken down relationships are as a result of lack of communication and openness. There are a plethora of underlining issues that lead to this malfunction, such as insecurity, judgement, laziness and control, among others. But when communication breaks down, when we fail to disclose our full self in our close relationships, we are setting ourselves up to fail. If you’ve chosen wisely and you’ve found a companion who can take all of you, good and bad, and still remain loving, true and supportive, well done! If you are not sure, then I encourage you to try and work on your communication skills together, especially if you are married.

However, if you don’t feel you have that communication level with a friend, then you need to ask yourself whether they are that kind of friend or not. If yes, then maybe you need to start by disclosing something other than the superficial about yourself. When we begin to trust people with deeper knowledge about our lives, we open ourselves up to the possibility of deep and meaningful relationships. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Start small and gradually build trust. You will know by their response whether they are the type of friend you can gain closeness with; by being supportive, by actively listening to you, and not spreading your life around like gossip.


Relationships of course, therefore, require discernment. This is a skill that cannot really be taught as such. It has to be learned through experience, through giving a little trust and seeing how it is treated. Like I said above, start small, give a little of yourself and see how the person you are building a relationship with treats it. You will decide for yourself if you feel your intimate soul which you have bared has been looked after. If yes, then you can proceed carefully. If not, then you know you have a friend whom you may wish to invest some time with, but not someone whom you can build a deep connection.

We all have people we resonate with on a deeper level. They usually become our best friends, husbands, wives, and mentors. They are the people we trust like Mum’s, Dad’s, and siblings, that we know have our back, and we can be truly honest with. Whoever they may be in your life, however few, they are like treasure. Precious and valuable.

This may all seem quite obvious to many of you, but for some people it can be extremely difficult. Either you may be a shy person who finds people challenging to be around. Or you may have been hurt in the past and find creating connections with new people an anxious prospect. Whatever your reason, they are all valid, but the need to create meaningful connections in your life cannot be dismissed. It just means that you will need time to create them, and space to build the trust you seek. Close relationships are important, but we must be discerning in our choice. It is possible though.

friendship. close relationships. happiness.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Give and Take

Close relationships are all about give and take. In truly deep relationships people tend to act unselfishly towards the other. Concern for the other’s welfare, not seeking a return for actions rendered…tit for tat. You recognise a partnership, and equality, a love between you that creates a safe space for you to grow together. When we try to live unselfishly together we find harmony and a natural rhythm that the relationship takes on.

Relationships that are all about take, that are imbalanced in the effort given, that promote discord and anxiety are not to be endured. Like I said above, it may be possible to remedy certain imbalances in relationships, especially long term ones, with improved communication. We should always seek resolution and reconciliation with people wherever possible. Sometimes, however, toxic relationships need to be ended. It is not my place to decide which, that is a matter for your own conscience and happiness. But always, big decisions must be made carefully, with full knowledge of the facts, and with thought for all those affected.

Above all, seek to be generous with your love, your time and your care for others. What we seek in our lives, must first be given freely.

Treat others as you would wish to be treated.


Arguably, one of the greatest relationships we can have, if not the greatest, is with our spiritual side. For me, that means a relationship with Jesus Christ. But for many it may mean something else. You may have your own faith, or you may not. Whatever we believe in, we must seek to n=be in touch with our inner self, our spirit. Being at peace with who we are, knowing our purpose, and recognising the force that gives us strength each day, leads to inner happiness.

Close relationships. Happiness. Faith. Jesus. Relationship with God.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

My faith in God is fundamental to my existence because my relationship with Him gives me a firm foundation to build my life upon. No matter what friends I have in my life, no matter what experiences I must live through, I know I have a deep connection. Close relationships that take us out of ourselves, create a bigger picture, give us a centeredness that cannot be easily shaken and an inner happiness that rivals any found on earth.

Seek happiness

Whether you have loads of friends or just a few, I encourage you to seek to deepen them where you deem appropriate. Seek true closeness and you may just find a kindred spirit.

Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.

Anne of Green Gables
L.M Montgomery

Seek happiness, live your best life, fill it with hope, joy, faith, and love, and no matter what, you will have lived well.


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