I often read literature about those cultures that seem to be the happiest, like Denmark and Norway. And in my pursuit of finding out more I've spoken with professionals on the matter.
The consensus is that those that have a sense of community around them and value togetherness fare better in life. Having that close support and camaraderie can be beneficial to our health and happiness, and possibly the longevity of our lives.
It's not uncommon nowadays to live away from family. Whether for work or the desire to experience living in another culture. Or due to cities becoming much larger and more spread out, making it harder to simply pop over for a cup of tea with family. Or perhaps because our values don't align with family and we generally feel happier without that constant contact.
This is where we can create a sense of community around us with friends. Friendships based on a mutual respect. On kindness and without judgement. And on being humble and not trying to constantly impress or outdo one another.
There is so much comfort to be felt in gathering with loved ones. To come together and enjoy the simplicity of a gooey cheese and glass of wine on a balmy summer evening. To sit on a picnic rug in a park while the children play. To meet weekly for a long walk by the river or through forest. It's when relationships flourish and we feel that sense of belonging that it can potentially help us feel much happiness.
People come and go throughout our lives. And sometimes we may be hurt by them. But it's those individuals that enter our lives that leave us feeling uplifted and respected that are worth holding onto. It's those relationships that we can nurture and help grow into lifelong friendships by getting together regularly. It may only be a select few, and that is totally OK. Quality over quantity is a concept that can crossover to many facets of our life.
Quite often when we gather it can pull us out of our own chaotic thoughts. And reminds us that we are part of something greater. Where we can practise empathy and be kind. And encourages us to put aside our everyday stresses and celebrate the simplicity of life together.
What can we do to bring a greater sense of togetherness into our lives?
Help those special relationships flourish by gathering often. Put perfection aside and be honest and humble. Share our life and our home with others often. Embrace spontaneity rather than structure. Listen intently and share pieces of our real selves. Gather simply without complicating the process. Accept help and don't feel that we need to do it all ourselves.
In doing so we could open our lives to so many fond memories. Memories that are special for all those that we welcome to come together.