(Photo above by Yan Krukov / Pexels)
Do you know what makes for a good life? If the first things that came to your mind were fame and money, you’re not alone.
According to the longest study on happiness referenced by psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, most people seek a life of fame and money. In his TED Talk, Dr. Waldinger discusses what actually makes for a good life, filled with happiness and satisfaction.
Spoiler alert: It’s not fame or money but rather “good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”
So, how do we cultivate good relationships? Here are four takeaways from Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda’s discussion this very topic.
Relationships based on genuine sincerity is true wealth.
If you remain sincere in your interactions with others, you will one day naturally come to find yourselves surrounded by good friends. … You may think friendships just happen spontaneously and develop by themselves, but they must be infused with and supported by the eternally youthful spirit to grow and advance. They involve an unflagging commitment to always be there to encourage and help one another as you work toward your respective aims and goals in life.
Daisaku Ikeda, Discussions on Youth, pp. 46–47
Take the initiative to open channels of honest communication.
The Buddhist scriptures clearly reveal that Shakyamuni Buddha was a person who initiated dialogue with others. You need to be strong to initiate a dialogue. You must remember that experiencing rejection and disappointment is an inevitable part of life. … No matter how other people are or what they do, it is important that you walk your own paths, believing in yourselves. If you remain constant and stay true to yourselves, others will definitely one day come to understand your sincere intent.
Daisaku Ikeda, Discussions on Youth, pp. 41–42
To make good friends, become a good friend yourself.
Ultimately, the only way to make good friends is for you to become a good friend yourself. Good people gather around other good people. … Nothing is more beautiful than friendships developed among people challenging themselves and encouraging one another as they work toward the realization of a common goal. Such relationships are even more beautiful than those between parent and child, husband and wife, and sweethearts. This kind of profound friendship is the highest mark and the very flame of humanity.
Daisaku Ikeda, Discussions on Youth, p. 44
True friendship contributes to our growth as people and contributing to a more positive world.
It’s so important to keep the promises made to friends. This is the true meaning of friendship. To become people who can do so, however, we must first learn to keep our resolutions—the promises we have made to ourselves. True friendship contributes to our growth as people and the creation of positive value in our lives. We cannot say the same of associating with bad influences, where the only result is stagnation and negativity; this is just hanging out together, not friendship.
Daisaku Ikeda, Discussions on Youth, p. 5
Ready to develop good relationships that lead to a happier life?
P.S. If you want to read more on this, we recommend the book Discussions on Youth.