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(Blog) Relationships Require Skills

Dr. Karen Yeh, Dr. David Carreon, and Paul Chen are doing important work at Flourish Tech. Mr. Chen was recently interviewed on the subject:

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I thought there were a lot of great ideas and thoughts in the video.

“Relationships require skills.”

“I cannot have good mental health with bad relationships.”

(Just to highlight a few.)

I think Paul Chen is correct that a lot of the conversation around mental health in the West is individualistic as opposed to focused on “the space between” individuals. Sure, people talk about removing toxic people in their lives, but other than marriage, people can talk about relationships like “things that just happen to us” as opposed to things we can get better at with the right skills. In my view, we tend to think of personality as fixed and our social skills as preset, so we gravitate toward the people we get along with and forget about all the rest. And this self-segregation can work for a time, but then one day it doesn’t…and the consequences for our mental health can be dire.

Sure, we don’t need a fire extinguisher often, but when we need it, we really need it. I like Mr. Chen’s point that if we cause less stress to those around us, we can make a better environment for our own mental health and the mental health of others. Tragically, if we lack these skills and try to heal relationships for the sake of our mental health, we might just go and make it worse, which may inspire us to try again, which could make the situation worse…The lack of these skills can cause vicious cycles, but I like to think the presence of them can be self-feeding in a positive direction.

I think if we gain the skills Fourish Tech wants to spread, it can inspire others to gain and learn those skills as well. I sometimes wonder if we need to return to the classical study of rhetoric. School and universities use to focus on etiquette, oration, manners, etc., and though all of that can be elitist and self-serving, perhaps it doesn’t have to be…

I see the importance of empathy at the wedding venue I run all the time. Weddings bring pressure, and families that lack social skills, empathy, and/or understanding have a stressful time. Families that possess them have a wonderful time. I think there’s something to be said about how if we want to optimize our networking, social, etc. opportunities, we’ll prioritize learning social skills. People often work very hard at least in part to build up the potential for robust social opportunities, but then never develop the social skills for realizing that potential (perhaps too busy prioritizing business skills and the like). Similarly, they work hard to fight the right person for marriage, but never develop the skills to make that marriage flourish. It’s a terrible irony, but one I think Flourish Tech will help correct.

To close, I like how Mr. Chen answered the question “How does this become a business?” I think he is correct that the demand is there: it’s just a question of making customers believe that their demand will be met with value. I certainly think they are on the right track.

For more on Flourish Tech, visit here.

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2020 UNO Prize Finalist. The Write Launch. Iowa Review. Allegory Ridge. Streetlight. Ponder. Pidgeonholes. W&M Review. Poydras.

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