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The Importance of Relationships to Mental Health

By Guest Blogger Brian Tracy

The one thing you have in common with all other human beings is your desire to be happy about yourself and your life.

Aristotle, perhaps the greatest of all the philosophers, concluded that man is a teleological organism. That is, he or she continually strives to achieve goals of some kind. Aristotle’s great contribution to human thought was his conclusion that behind every interim goal that a person strives for, there is yet another goal, and then another, and another, and another, until the individual arrives at the final goal. And the final goal is always happiness.

For example, you want to get a better job. Why? So that you can earn more money. Why? So that you can buy a better car. Why? So that you can be more attractive to members of the opposite sex. Why? So that you will have more and better dates with more interesting and enjoyable people. Why? So that you will get greater pleasure out of your social activities. Why? So that eventually you will find someone who loves you and whom you love in return. Why? And the final answer is always because you feel that that is what will make you the most happy.

I really believe that your primary aim in life is to achieve your own happiness. If you do not set your own happiness as the organizing principle for your decisions and your behaviors, no one else will do it for you. No one cares about your happiness as much as you do. Anyone who feels that they will be unhappy in order to make someone else happy, is only fooling themselves. You can’t give away something that you don’t have. You can’t make someone else happy unless you are happy yourself. If you really love and care for the people around you, you will become a thoroughly happy individual. That is the best and kindest thing that you can do for others.

True, genuine, deep-down happiness and inner peace is the hallmark of mental health. To the degree to which you can achieve your own peace and happiness, you are a truly healthy, fully-functioning, fully-integrated, self-actualizing human being. If you can accomplish everything else in the world, but you cannot achieve your own happiness, to that degree you are a failure.

And now we come to the central theme of this message. Fully 85% of your happiness will be determined by your relationships with other people. It is how well you get along with others, and how well they get along with you, that will determine your level of happiness and satisfaction in life more than any other single factor.

Relationships are not peripheral to a successful life. They are central. If you accomplish all your material goals but you do not attend carefully to your relationships, you will end up empty, alone and miserable. But if you have wonderful relationships with people who care about you, and whom you care about, then no matter what happens in the outside world, you will still be happy.

You are a social animal. You were born to be with other people. Your entire identity, your self-image, your self-esteem, your self-respect, and everything about you are determined by the reactions of other people to you from earliest childhood. How you think and feel about yourself on an hour to hour, minute to minute basis is largely determined by how other people respond to you as you move through your personal and business life.

One of the smartest and most productive things that you can do is to become a relationship expert. There is no set of skills that will do more to assure you of great success, achievement and satisfaction in life than to be extremely competent at getting along with other people.

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