Introducing a guest post by Shayne Seymour. You’ll see why Shayne is and blogs at Independently Happy.
It’s easier than you think
In his hierarchy of needs, Abraham Maslow included relationships right after food, water and safety. Intimate relationships and friends are one of the “deficiency needs” we have to meet before we can get to the fun stuff at the top of the pyramid. Relationships can provide so much more than basic needs, though. There is power in relationships. Put another way, relationships give us power.
What is the Power Gem?
I’m always looking for ways to present habits that build happiness, and the Marvel movie Doctor Strange gave me a great idea: The Happiness Infinity Gauntlet. I’m going to teach how to use each of the six Infinity Gems in Marvel comics as a happiness superpower!
- Time Gem (Doctor Strange)
- Space Gem
- Soul Gem
- Reality Gem
- Mind Gem
- Power Gem (now in Nicole’s protection)
The Power Gem grants its owner just that, great power. It’s the gem the baddy had in Guardians of the Galaxy. If you haven’t seen it, take a look.
Just like a Marvel comics group of heroes called The Illuminati hid the Infinity gems throughout the Universe to keep them away from the evil Thanos (the big, mean blue guy in the movies), I’m hiding Infinity Gems throughout the blogiverse in the form of guest posts.
I needed a good, pure and truly powerful superhero to guard the Power Gem. Enter Nicole Akers. The Universe will be eternally grateful to Nicole for agreeing to nurture and protect the Power Gem from those who would use its power for evil. I’m forever thankful to Nicole for allowing all these nerdy references.
Here’s one now.
Hey, Doctor Strange!
“Hey, Doctor Strange. Hermione Granger called. She wants her Time-Turner back.”
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘Hey Doctor Strange, Hermione Granger called. She wants her Time-Turner back’. @indyhayhay” quote=”‘Hey Doc, Hermione Granger called. She wants her Time-Turner back’. @indyhayhay” theme=”style3″]
Maslow knows–he always knows.
Check out his pyramid and see how important relationships are.
Some good quality time in person with friends reminds us we belong. There is research that you can expand your life by ten years if you have just one close friend. Other research showed that social interaction delays memory loss in the elderly. One study showed that having strong relationships can make us live longer, that having good friends indicates a 50% better chance of survival.
Power in relationships helps us to be happier and live longer.
This isn’t a how-to-meet-your-needs book, though.
This is the Happiness Infinity Gauntlet. This is how you use your relationships to gain Power!
We All Need the Human Touch
If Marvel writers had included a Songwriting Gem in the Infinity Gauntlet, the Illuminati would have hidden it in Rick Springfield’s guitar. He has to be a time traveler. How else could he have written, “Everybody’s talking to computers,” in 1983? All this talking to computers is not fulfilling the basic need of intimate relationships that only face-to-face contact can fulfill!
Technology Drains Our Power
By making it so easy to stay connected online, technology has made physical time with loved ones more difficult.
It’s far too easy to comment on a friend’s social media post and think that we’re getting sufficient connection with them, but we are not. We frequently have Skype calls with my wife’s family in Spain. We need to keep up at least that much connection. Skype calls help, but conversations on social media and Skype calls don’t empower us like presence.
Our True Selves
Our online selves aren’t our true selves. Too few post actual substance online. We post what we want people to see. We want to show off the interesting places we go, how much fun we’re having with our cool friends, how bright and talented our kids are, how we’ve really got it all together.
If you’re not being your true self, who are they getting to know? Do you even know your true self?
When someone does spill their heart out, it seems like TMI. It usually is TMI, because out of those 1,000 FB friends, maybe ten are true friends. That’s 990 people that don’t need to know your spouse leaves dirty dishes all over the counter.
So we don’t get the feeling of belonging we can get from revealing our truest selves to truest friends. Nor do we learn anything about our friends. We miss out on the sense of belonging we’d get by a close friend revealing his truest self to you. There’s too little substance with which to bond to our real friends when our only connection is online.
That’s not what Maslow meant by relationships. That pleasure from scrolling through social media feeds just burns out your dopamine receptors and leads to addiction. It drains your power and only makes happiness more elusive.
Don’t let social media trick you into thinking you’re not lonely. Meet your friends in person.
Physical Contact-Power in Relationships
When you meet, shake hands or hug. Or both. That human contact helps trigger the release of the hormone oxytocin. It’s the cuddle hormone. But a hug will do in Starbucks, please, thank you very much!
Oxytocin can help flush Cortisol. You’ve heard of that one. It’s the stress hormone. The getting all the bad press hormone, the causing our health to regress hormone.
But I digress hormone.
Phones Face Down-Power in Relationships
I said to meet, “face-to-face,” not “phone-to-face.”
Show your friend that you care. Put your phone down, face down. If you’re expecting an urgent call or maybe a “goodnight” text from home, put your phone on Do Not Disturb. Then you only get that important call, not every update from every social media app.
Ask questions. Listen to answers. Respond honestly and openly. Speak from the heart. Engage and connect.
It’s a basic human need to normal people.
You and I are energizing our Power Gem. We’re building relationship superpowers, becoming superheroes. The more we feed our relationships, the more they bless and empower us. We can become Captain Happiness and Relationship Ranger. Why am I suddenly craving nachos? That was too cheesy, wasn’t it?
Playing With Kids-Power in Relationships
Especially when playing with kids, put the phone down. Don’t allow a phone between you. Don’t give the kids the impression that whatever is happening on that screen is more important to them, and don’t make them think those little screens are too important to ever put down. They’ll grow up even more attached to their screens than we are.
We’re training the future Guardians of our World. Don’t render the world a satellite to your little phone. Teach children they are worthy of our attention and love. Teach children unconditional love, to treat others with respect and compassion, and to give each other the sense of belonging that comes with our relationships.
Phones already distract us too much. Don’t let them distract you from bonding with friends and loved ones.
Engaging relationships like this give us power. Stop letting that little device control so much of your life. Stop letting it drain your power. Use it as a way to set up time with friends that will give you power. Then ignore it while you relish quality time with a loved one. What will you do to add more power in relationships? Comment with your decision.
Shayne Seymour is a father, husband, black belt, cubical survivor and Happiness Architect at IndependentlyHappy.com, sharing his experience to help others find their own purpose and happiness while surviving and thriving in these crazy modern times. Connect with Shayne on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.