Note:This article first appeared in June 2012 Issue of NTULink – a quarterly magazine for alumni of Nanyang Technological University.
It has been well established that humans are social beings. What is not very well acknowledged is that we have a need 'to be known'. This need drives us to seek out and maintain relationships with others. Positive relating brings about happiness.
But how does one create positive relationships and achieve happiness?
We have regular conversations with persons whom we value. We express our emotions, fears, anxieties, aspirations, excitement and joy in these conversations. This exchange of emotions often strengthens a relationship. When you feel that you are being understood, you experience happiness. A good conversation occurs when a range of emotions are being communicated between two persons.
Conversation is more listening and less talking. We communicate through nonverbal modes such as facial expression, tone of voice and body language. The true meaning of what is being said is often embodied in non-verbal communication. For example, when one's eyebrows are drawn together, it suggests that one is perplexed. It would be excellent if there were mandatory classes in listening skills. Very often we listen, but fail to hear.
One of the secrets to happiness is to maintain frequent conversations with significant others. In a marriage, making time for conversations is crucial. The longer a couple has been married, the greater the number of hours they ought to have spent having conversations. Digital communication modes such as SMS, emails and postings on social media, do not constitute conversations, as these mediums do not carry the full band wave of emotions a face-to-face conversation can offer. Digital communication can augment but not replace conversation.
People sometimes encounter difficulties in their relationships with their significant others. This happens when they feel that the other party does not understand him/her. That is the reason why people stop listening to each other, causing good conversations to cease. When that happens, seeking help from a counseling psychologist or a psychotherapist can be considered.
Neo Eng Chuan founded and heads CaperSpring. A psychologist by education, he practices marital and family therapy working with adults, couples and families who are experiencing psychological, emotional and relationship difficulties. He received his psychology education at the Australian National University in Canberra Australia under a government study award and later completed a Masters in Applied Psychology at the National Institute of Education, Singapore.More about Neo Eng Chuan
© 2015 CaperSpring