The School of Positive Psychology

Florence: Building Genuine Relationships Through Positive Communication

Galvanised by the pandemic, Florence left her job to embark on a journey of self-discovery in 2021. She decided to explore wellbeing and positive psychology with TSPP and is now seeing the world around her with fresh eyes.

Florence Leung
Senior Marketing and PR Manager – Hong Kong
Specialist Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, 2021

Q: How has learning about Positive Psychology changed your life?

Positive psychology has changed the way I communicate and connect with my friends and family. I used to be quick in wanting to give advice from my own perspective of their matters. Hence, I struggled in being empathetic towards my loved ones.
After studying Positive Psychology, I noticed how helpful it is to deeply listen to others and consider things from their perspective. When I actively listen and speak less, my friends tell me that they feel great speaking to me. They feel that they are being genuinely heard, and that I pay attention to their feelings and emotions. I am very grateful for this and I also believe that it is really important to make time for people and connect with them.
Positive Psychology has also been helpful at home with my son.

Q: Have you seen a difference in the way you interact with your family?

I live separately from my family, but I usually visit them once a week. I used to skip these visits occasionally, especially when I had too much work on my plate.
During this course, I decided to make a change – whenever I went to visit, I will try my best to stay with them for a bit longer. If I cannot visit them, I try to call and talk to them, which I seldom did in the past.
I believe that it is important for me to just listen to them share about their day – or anything at all – so they can feel that I care for them. For me, it is not easy to talk to my parents as I get impatient easily. However, learning about positive psychology has reminded me to be present and avoid jumping into quick conclusions. This helped me establish healthier communication with my parents.

Q: What did you find most memorable about the course?

There was a very impactful experience that I encountered during the course. The lecturer, Jana, asked us: “If a fairy comes and grants you a change in your life overnight, what is the first thing you would see when you wake up?” I was quite impressed and surprised with what came to mind – it was an image of my dad sitting at home, having breakfast and sharing with me about one of his cycling expeditions. My dad really loves cycling, but a bad accident rendered him unable to cycle that often. After a while, I think he started feeling depressed, and stopped sharing about the cycling experiences that made him happy. This struck me – I realised that I enjoyed hearing him talk about them, because it showed that he was happy, healthy and enjoying what he was doing. Right now, I don’t see that in my home anymore.
Florence: Building Genuine Relationships Through Positive Communication

I needed to do something to address that. I cannot help him physically, but I can contribute to the betterment of his mental and emotional health. 

I started initiating conversations with: What did you do today? Did you go cycling? Where did you go? How was the scenery and things like that?
It isn’t a very in-depth conversation, but my dad appreciates it. He feels happy when he talks to me, so I think that helps a bit. I’m still trying to figure out what more I can do, but I think that’s a good start.

Q: How else have you applied what you learn to help the people around you?

For my final project of the Specialist Diploma course, I designed a half-day wellness retreat with Pastel Nagomi Art experience for my friends. As a mindfulness practice, they created their own pastel drawing with my guidance. They created beautiful drawings, felt calmer, happier and less stressful afterwards. In addition, they had a sense of achievement completing the drawing and were keen to draw and share this practice with their friends too. I am glad that the workshop is helpful for them and will continue to schedule similar workshops with other friends.
Florence: Building Genuine Relationships Through Positive Communication
Florence: Building Genuine Relationships Through Positive Communication

Q: What is your biggest takeaway from your education?

Strengths – a very basic concept yet a very powerful one. Personally, it is very easy to identify people’s faults and flaws. However, the biggest takeaway from TSPP education is that I learnt how to look more towards people’s strengths, and leverage on that. I usually encourage my friends to take the VIA strengths profile test for them to identify their strengths. It is an objective way of identifying one’s strengths.
Once, I had a friend who was quite upset with her job. She felt uncomfortable with the fact that her boss never listened to her comments and was very closed-minded. She struggled as she could not be honest with herself and her boss. Interestingly, when we looked at her strengths report, her top strength was Honesty. I connected the dots and realised that she was not herself at work, which resulted in an internal conflict. I shared this with her, and she completely agreed with me! Moving forward, She tried to look for alternate opportunities to reflect her personal voice at work. From this encounter, I felt that it’s actually quite helpful just to share about what I’ve learnt to the people around me.
Florence: Building Genuine Relationships Through Positive Communication
Florence: Building Genuine Relationships Through Positive Communication
Additionally, as someone who is less inclined to talk about her feelings, I had found it difficult in expressing or describing the varying types of moods and emotions. Through the course, I had the opportunity to expand my emotional vocabulary. For example, I learnt that being angry comes with a spectrum with varying intensities. This helped me to better understand and empathise with how others are feeling.

Q: Any advice for people unsure if pursuing further education is worth it?

Go for it, as it is a great avenue for self-discovery.
Inspired to embark on your own transformation journey? Find out more on the courses at The School of Positive Psychology!
Are you a TSPP alumni or current student and keen to connect with like-minded people like Florence? Join TSPP Ripples Network Night – a series of networking workshops exclusively for TSPP alumni to collaborate and create ripples of change in the world together!