Today is National Elephant Appreciation Day, so we take a look at the lessons we can learn about relationships from the complex sets of social skills in elephants.
Show your emotions- Elephants show humour, co-operation, self-awareness and playfulness. There is nothing wrong with being emotionally honest with your partner- in fact it brings you closer together as you can be vulnerable together.
People don't say 'laughing is the best medicine' for nothing- it really is the best tonic for any relationship.
Being aware of your own needs and desires is important to communicate to your partner- you may be a couple; however you still bring individual traits to the relationship.
Every couple needs to be playful at times, to alleviate stress and to momentarily forget about their responsibilities. 'All work and no play'- as the saying goes.
Finally, co-operation is essential for a peaceful relationship- to show mutual support for one another to reach the same goal.
Joy- Elephants have no shame in showing when they are happy with their loved ones and greet those most precious to them with expressions of joy. If you are enjoying your time with your partner- tell them- better yet- show them that you value the moments you spend together and that you are happy to be with them. If we are not careful, we can fixate on all the things that go wrong rather than appreciating the small moments of joy in between. It is important to acknowledge them to reinforce why you're together.
The power of touch- Elephants frequently touch and caress one another and make contact by entwining their trunks. Touch is a very powerful force in a relationship. It shows your partner that you want to be physically close to them, communicates protection and safety and that you still find them desirable.
Reassurance- Elephants reassure one another in times of uncertainty and fear. It is important that in a couple- you reassure each other even if you secretly have doubts over the future as it gets you through the tougher times.
Team work- Elephants demonstrate team work with each other all the time. Team work is essential in any relationship. Whether it's pulling together to arrange an event, to decorate your shared living quarters or to simply cook a meal- it's very important that lovers work effectively as a pair to be successful.
Curiosity- Elephants are naturally curious creatures. Curiosity that drives you to start rifling through your partner's stuff may be taking things too far; however a mild curiosity makes you learn things about your partner that you might not have ordinarily discovered.
Creativity- Elephants are imaginative animals- and have been captured working with humans to generate something creative on many an occasion. Even for couples who don't consider themselves creative in their hobbies and interests; a certain amount of creativity is key to the success of relationship. Couples have to come up with new ideas all the time to keep their relationship fresh and interesting. Creativity can be simply thinking of something to do on a free Saturday or on an evening when you are both looking to be entertained.
Compassion- Studies have found that elephants make allowances for those closest to them. Showing your partner compassion demonstrates an ability to see life from their point of view. If your partner is sick- understanding that they might not be able to function at their normal pace means a great deal to them.
Altruism- There have been countless stories of elephants caring for other injured species. We can all take a leaf from their book. Not only should you care for your partner but their family and friends too. If their loved ones are hurt or upset, you should care for them with the same gusto as you would your partner. They are your extended family after all.
Grief- Elephants are renowned for mourning their loved ones. It is important if your partner suffers a loss in their family, that you are there for them- for as long as it takes. Grieving shows that you feel their sense of loss and that you also developed an attachment to their loved one in the time you knew them.