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The Science of Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect. By Maria Popova “The self is more of a superhighway for social influence than it is the impenetrable private fortress we believe it to be.”

The Science of Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect

“Without the sense of fellowship with men of like mind,” Einstein wrote, “life would have seemed to me empty.” It is perhaps unsurprising that the iconic physicist, celebrated as “the quintessential modern genius,” intuited something fundamental about the inner workings of the human mind and soul long before science itself had attempted to concretize it with empirical evidence. Now, it has: In Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect (public library), neuroscientist Matthew D. Lieberman, director of UCLA’s Social Cognitive Neuroscience lab, sets out to “get clear about ‘who we are’ as social creatures and to reveal how a more accurate understanding of our social nature can improve our lives and our society. A Simple Tool That Will Improve Every One Of Your Relationships. Whether you're a friend, a partner, an employee, a boss, a world leader, or a parent, you will inevitably encounter communication challenges at some point in your relationships.

A Simple Tool That Will Improve Every One Of Your Relationships

And there is one simple tool that will produce radical changes when you implement and practice it. It's psych 101. It's the first modality I learned as a graduate student in counseling psychology almost 20 years ago. It's basic information that we all instinctually know yet easily forget because we're not encouraged to practice it. The tool is called active listening. I'll give you an example from my life as a parent: My kids are screaming at each other. "He won't stop scratching the back of my chair! "I DON'T WANT TO STOP! " We're on vacation, trying to enjoy a peaceful morning in the snowy mountains, but as anyone with more than one child knows, the best-laid plans come to a screeching halt when siblings begin their rivalry. My husband and I look at each quickly and then act. Five Communication Mistakes Almost Every Couple Makes. Meanwhile: An Illustrated Love Letter to the Living Fabric of a City and Our Shared Human Longing to Be Understood.

By Maria Popova A tender reminder that however vast our differences, we are bonded by the yearning to feel seen for who we are.

Meanwhile: An Illustrated Love Letter to the Living Fabric of a City and Our Shared Human Longing to Be Understood

I’ve written before that every city needs a love letter. Though Meanwhile, in San Francisco: The City in Its Own Words (public library) by illustrator extraordinaire and frequent Brain Pickings contributor Wendy MacNaughton — who gave us the wonderful Lost Cat, one of the best books of 2013 — may be “about” a city, in the sense that the raw inspiration was drawn from the streets of San Francisco, it is really about the city, any city — about community, about subcultures and belonging, about the complexities of gentrification, about what it means to have individual dignity and shared identity. We meet the Mission Hipsters, who might as well be the Williamsburg Hipsters*, or the Insert-Any-City’s-Neighborhood-That-Has-Become-Synonymous-With-Hipsters Hipsters, an affectionate portrait of the cultural trope, down to “hand-knit dog sweater #62″: Donating = Loving.

How to interact with the introverted. The Science and Philosophy of Friendship: Lessons from Aristotle on the Art of Connecting. By Maria Popova “Friends hold a mirror up to each other; through that mirror they can see each other in ways that would not otherwise be accessible to them, and it is this mirroring that helps them improve themselves as persons.”

The Science and Philosophy of Friendship: Lessons from Aristotle on the Art of Connecting

“A principal fruit of friendship,” Francis Bacon wrote in his timeless meditation on the subject, “is the ease and discharge of the fulness and swellings of the heart, which passions of all kinds do cause and induce.” How to Navigate the Murky Waters of Workplace Friendships: Wisdom from Adam Smith and Aristotle. By Maria Popova “Is not mistaking relationships for what they are not — that is being blind to their ambiguity — arguably the greatest cause of disappointment and failure?”

How to Navigate the Murky Waters of Workplace Friendships: Wisdom from Adam Smith and Aristotle

“A condition of friendship, is the abdication of power over another, indeed the abdication even of the wish for power over one another,” Andrew Sullivan wrote in his beautiful meditation on why friendship is a greater gift than romantic love. “As soon as a friend attempts to control a friend, the friendship ceases to exist.” What Highly Sensitive People Can Teach Us All About Kindness. Why People Cheat: A Couples Therapist Explains Couples therapist, clinical psychologist and bestselling author Dr.

What Highly Sensitive People Can Teach Us All About Kindness

Sue Johnson speaks at MindBodyGreen's wellness summit, revitalize, about why infidelity is actually a symptom of disconnection, and Read I work with a lot of highly sensitive people, and they often start a session like this: "My husband teases me a lot, and I know I should just roll with the punches, but it hurts my feelings. " "Why should you roll with the punches? " "Because I've been told my entire life that I'm too sensitive, and that I should learn to take a joke.

" Some other common responses to someone expressing that they don't like being teased are: Masters of Love. Every day in June, the most popular wedding month of the year, about 13,000 American couples will say “I do,” committing to a lifelong relationship that will be full of friendship, joy, and love that will carry them forward to their final days on this earth.

Masters of Love

Except, of course, it doesn’t work out that way for most people. The majority of marriages fail, either ending in divorce and separation or devolving into bitterness and dysfunction. Of all the people who get married, only three in ten remain in healthy, happy marriages, as psychologist Ty Tashiro points out in his book The Science of Happily Ever After, which was published earlier this year. Social scientists first started studying marriages by observing them in action in the 1970s in response to a crisis: Married couples were divorcing at unprecedented rates. Psychologist John Gottman was one of those researchers. From the data they gathered, Gottman separated the couples into two major groups: the masters and the disasters. How Relationships Refine Our Truths: Adrienne Rich on the Dignity of Love.