I think true success is intrinsic…
True success is something that each of us has to define for ourselves. Friends, family, and community are an intrinsic part of life and add so much value to our earthly existence. When we stop and ask ourselves “what’s important, what are our personal priorities?” — we have the opportunity to recognize our loved ones, near and far.
Our community is filled with family, friends, neighbors, and all the people in our world that make our lives interesting. Our communities are made up of school teachers, bus drivers, baristas at the corner coffee shop. We have dog walkers, pharmacy workers, firemen, police officers, and mailmen. Our local businesses, places of worship, housekeepers, nannies and so many more people that add fundamental value to our lives. We as humans are not meant to go it alone, we need each other and we need to work together in our communities to add value, love, and kindness to each other.
Social connection is a necessary component of a successful and healthy life. Human beings have several basic needs that include food, shelter and community connection. Our physical, emotional and spiritual health is dependant on social interaction, group inclusion, and loving relationships — we need these bonds for our brains and our physical wellbeing. Relating to other people in the most basic ways is proven to make people happier — especially when you know you are adding value to someone’s life.
Social connections are crucial to our lives — “To be kept in solitude is to be kept in pain,” writes the sociobiologist E. O. Wilson, “and put on the road to madness. A person’s membership in his group—his tribe—is a large part of his identity.” As we have become a culture that values things over relationships our social connections have been dissolving. We are sharing less and less of our lives with our friends, we have fewer friends with whom we do share, we are increasingly denying our social needs and we are suffering for it. Our societal isolation has increased, our levels of happiness have gone down while rates of depression and suicide are increasing. “The more individuals endorse materialism as a positive life value, the less happy they are with are with their lives.”
True success is ultimately your choice — how you define success for yourself. What science tells us from years of research is that we need to be inclusive — including love, kindness, and community in our personal definition of success. Our brains and bodies respond positively to shared experiences with others, when we are social, we are happier. If you are finding your life is in need of more connection — you don’t have to look far for a sustainable life change — get a dog, join a church, volunteer at your local hospital or senior center. Get out in your neighborhood and find a way to get involved and share yourself with others, your body, mind, and spirit will be tickled with the delight of helping others in any small way.
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