Finding Ikigai Through Meaningful Relationships

Do you have meaningful relationships?

For Dr. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva, having meaningful relationships is a way of attaining ikigai. When people have meaningful connections, they have something they can hold on to even in times of difficulties.

Nick: I think, from your research, clearly, you know, when we're young, we want to feel needed. Then maybe when we do have the structure of family -- we are needed, so we don't think about it.

I'm sure when my son who's 17, maybe in a few years when he leaves the house, he doesn't need me, maybe other than for money, I will think that I'm not needed by him as much as I once was. I might struggle with that.

So could the short answer to finding one ikigai with meaningful relationships? If that's one takeaway?

Chikako: It is certainly one takeaway, I would say, I think if you want to think about what's most important in life again, if you're already embedded in a very good relationship, you might even say, why focus on ikigai, it's okay to have or not.

But certainly it seems almost right. Even people who were languishing.  If people are languishing, people really latch on to ikigai. But it becomes a little bit over the abstract concepts. 

Such as, that may be something lofty but I don't have it yet. But once I have it, oh, all the meanings would be restored in my life, and they wouldn't be okay. But maybe what you need is actually having a good relationship.

It's almost like misplacing focus that you think you should have something else to be happy? But maybe what is more important, is having this kind of sound relationship, that may be the foundation for happiness for many people.

Because once you become very goal oriented all the time, it could be endless, right? Like more and more.