Keystone to better relationships

A great deal

A great deal of our happiness in life rests in our relationships with others…

Whether it’s with our team at work, our friends and colleagues or our spouse and children at home…

…and keeping those relationships strong is the foundation for happiness and success.

But real life doesn’t often look like that old Trident commercial where everyone is smiling and high-fiving each other… (especially now with Covid restrictions).


The key to successful relationships lies in our ability to embrace the murk.

Life is super messy and every minute has it’s ups and downs.

It’s really easy to say “everything is great” – and only practice optimism, ignoring everything else… but that will only work for a short time (not to mention can lead to mental health issues).

The latest research suggest that the secret to strong relationships and happiness in life lies in the in-between.

We should “embrace the murk”.

This requires psychological flexibility – and there are 174 studies that show it is the keystone to better relationships at home and at work.

Some things you can do improve it:

  1. Consider how you can set the stage for it:

    • Set expectations

    • Ask about and remove barriers

    • Talk about why this is important

  2. Invite people to participate:

    1. Model vulnerability and humility – no one knows everything, it’s okay to admit you don’t know all of the answers

    2. Practice it through surveys, polling, small group meetings, interviews, and any medium that might work

  3. Respond well to it:

    1. Praise people for engaging

    2. Encourage and expect leaders to have behavioral integrity – doing what they say they will do and getting the simple things right (like being on time, and avoiding double booking meetings)

You can read more about psychological flexibility in this article in Inc. magazine.

Reflect on what you could do to try to build your psychological flexibility and then try some new techniques in the relationships where you are feeling strained right now.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, email me or comment below.

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