As essential to a fulfilled life as shelter and food, a sense of belonging is one of our basic human needs. Our different actions in life, therefore, are directed so we can establish a good relationship with one another, whether it is through brotherhood, parenthood, or friendships. Each of these relationships not only provides us with a sense of belonging, but also provide us with experiences that promote growth and give us meaning, purpose, and happiness in our lives.
However, not all relationships help us to thrive. Indeed, relationships often become a source of great distress. For example, ideally, the unconditional love of parents makes family a place that promotes the healthy development of children. However, negative experiences in a family can give rise to different individual and societal problems. According to an article by Maccari et al., “Consequences of Early-Life Adversity,” negative early-life experiences are associated with increased risk of disease, levels of anxiety and depressive-like symptoms, and cognitive impairments. Such an example shows that our relationships have the power to enrich our lives as well as to damage it.
Then what makes the difference between positive and negative relationships?
As advocated by many volunteers with Global Peace Foundation (GPF), there is a strongly held belief that the core value of living for the greater good is a key for developing positive relationships within the family, community, and society at large. Launched on May 4, 2019 by Global Peace Youth Indonesia, the Give Me Sunshine program established a community of 38 youth under the shared value of living for the greater good and the vision of One Family Under God. Such a community with an atmosphere that promotes the value of service and love toward others fosters positive relationships within the community and prepares them to expand that positive influence in their society.
In the community, volunteers teach and guide participating youth to learn and practice a set of core values, including teamwork, ownership, and dreaming big. They also organized different activities such as drawing and storytelling classes. Through these experiences, volunteers help equip them with a stronger sense of morals and values that promote positive relationships with one another.
Through the program, the volunteers, as elders, were able to show their spirit of volunteerism and culture of service. This helps the volunteers not only to practice but exemplify their value of service, so the younger brothers and sisters can too take on the same values and responsibilities to have a positive influence in their circle of communities.