“The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.” –Unknown
What would you think if someone asked you to choose less to do in your life and more to be?
Have you ever heard of “godere la vita”? It’s an Italian phrase meaning “the art of enjoying life.” In the moment is where relationships are built and life is lived.
If you were to take an evaluation of the many relationships in your life, are you making them “efficient,” or do you truly feel that you are investing in each other?
It’s been shown time and again that hospital patients with a strong, nurturing support system fair better in recovery than those without one. The studies have been done with various cancers, patient types, and illnesses, and they all come back with the same results: those with a strong social network and a positive outlook have a better chance for healing and recovery afterwards. It’s no coincidence that our mental wellbeing plays such a significant role in our physical wellbeing.
If you are constantly on the go and in a rush, then time to invest in deeper conversation dwindles, and therefore so does the quality of your relationships.
How many times per day do you ask “Hi, how are you?” or respond “Fine, thank you.” Americans are known for their initial level of friendliness. Smiles, handshakes, and have-a-great-days abound. But what about creating deeper connection? What could it add to your life?
We’ve got something valuable to learn from Europeans… They take their time to connect and build relationships that last. While they like to skip past “shoot-the-breeze” conversations, Europeans prefer conversing over long hours of socializing to really bond with each other. Interestingly enough, there is typically a lack of polite, politically correct speech, which is instead replaced by genuine, straight-forward discussion.
When they ask how you are, they are truly interested in knowing how you feel or what’s going on in your life. They’re not looking for a “fine, thanks” answer. They’re willing to spend three hours of honesty over a meal. Their bluntness may sometimes be a shock to an American, but you are never left questioning. The benefit? You grow, improve, and know that you will always have a friend by your side telling you as it is. We’re all humans, all experiencing life together. There’s no need to hide behind a plaster mask of perfection. It’s okay to share! As someone put it, “It’s not about being perfect, but about being perfectly imperfect.”
When you think of your life as an expression of your soul, what can meaningful relationships add? Are you seeking happiness as a self-reliant accomplishment, or are you allowing community and relationships to be part of a full and meaningful life? When it all boils down, what are your priorities? What will matter in the end—that extra check off your to-do list, or investing in a real, genuine, openhearted connection with someone?
Do you ever find yourself feeling that if you don’t have something scheduled, then you don’t know what to do with yourself? Instead of trying to plug up every hole of time with activities, why not leave some open to be flexible with a friend with whom you may be able to spend some quality time?
Don’t eat alone – savor your meals with someone who’s company you truly enjoy.
Tips and Strategies
Allow yourself to be real and honest about stress and emotions: you don’t have to wear a smile twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Celebrate with others: Meals are not just about satisfying your hunger—they’re a time to build relationships and develop bonds that will last a lifetime.
Get unplugged: Spend more face-to-face time.
Try to be real and genuine instead of polite and private.
Listen intently: Get to know people deeply.
Live your life with passion, and embrace its joys. Taking the time and energy to invest in others also means investing in your quality of life: a portal of feelings and love that leads to a support system we all need.
Godersi la vita–enjoy your life!
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