Below are some highlights of the five life lessons listed in a recent Psychology Today article, “Lessons For Living: Five Surprising Principles for Living, Loving, and Playing Well With Others,” by Elizabeth Svoboda and Colin Weatherby.
- Lesson #1: The Role of Radical Acceptance—You can’t fix the ones you love, so focus on fixing yourself. “…(W)hen you don’t see eye to eye in a relationship you want to keep: ‘Look inward to fix the problem rather than trying to change the other person,’ says Northwestern University psychologist Eli Finkel—even if that just means practicing acceptance,” write the authors. Info from Paul Coleman‘s book “We Need to Talk”: Tough Conversations with Your Spouse is also cited.
- Lesson #2: The Beauty of Benign Neglect—It’s more harmful to overparent than to underparent. Resources used for this principle include Hara Estroff Marano‘s A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting and David Elkind‘s The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children. Michelle Givertz, assistant professor of Communication Studies, California State University at Chico, “…found that age-inappropriate overparenting leads to depression-prone, aimless kids (and ultimately, adults) with ‘diminished self-efficacy,’ lacking the ability to put a plan in place to achieve goals…” Another outcome of parental overinvolvement is that kids develop an increased sense of entitlement.
- Lesson #3: Opposites Don’t Forever Attract—Seek a mate whose values and background echo your own. This is supported by a compatibility questionnaire developed by psychologist Glenn Wilson, Gresham College, London. The writers of the article add: “Still, regardless of how well the two of you score on compatibility tests, you need to feel a spark of attraction—something that can actually come from the differences between your partner’s interests and passions and your own…”
- Lesson #4: Social Networks Matter—The strength of your friendships is as critical for your health as the lifestyle choices you make. Multiple studies have supported this idea, including research by Bert Uchino, psychologist, University of Utah; by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Brigham Young University; and by Sheldon Cohen, Carnegie Mellon University. “Researchers speculate that the stress associated with low social support sets off a cascade of damaging reactions within the body, including cardiovascular dysfunction and weakened immune resistance. ‘Stress has potentially negative effects on health and well-being,’ Cohen says, but knowing your friends have your back can help prevent such fallout.”
- Lesson #5: Lust Diminishes, But Love Remains—Being inured to your partner isn’t the same as being out of love. Several books are cited: David Schnarch, Intimacy & Desire: Awaken the Passion in Your Relationship; Howard Markman, Fighting For Your Marriage; and Harriet Lerner, Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up. One significant conclusion: “…Focus on the lasting bonds that remain in the relationship. Rather than asking yourself, ‘Am I still in love with my partner?’ try asking, ‘What can I do to restore our connection?'”
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