Opinion piece
26 September 2018

Building Better Relationships

Life Skills revealed to Umeira Caunhye that she loves her family more than anything else in the world and ways to strengthen connections with those around her. 

The 21-year-old Mauritian valued relationships above anything else but didn’t understand people. She couldn’t comprehend why her introverted friend refused to reveal what she was mad about. She couldn’t grasp the fact that her best friend in her home town no longer stayed in touch often as before. Umeira lost her temper easily when met with differing opinions in group discussions. She argued when having conversations with her mother. She couldn’t express how she truly felt when it mattered most.

In Life Skills, the accounting and finance student had her eyes opened when its facilitator, Ms. Divya Mariam Chandy, asked the class to complete the Myer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test. Besides learning that she is an extrovert, Umeira discovered why people act the way they do. Because everyone is unique, there is a method to connect with different personalities. Umeira applied this knowledge in her life, alter how she respond to others and noticed the vast difference.

Her introverted friend began to open up to her about why she got mad. Umeira began to accept that her best friend back in Mauritius may be genuinely too busy to keep in touch but became confident that she would be the first to greet her upon her return. She is calmer when met with differing opinions and tries to understand them instead. The biggest change of all was her relationship with her family.

“Knowing that my family is most dear to me altered the way I communicate with them. My mom noticed this when she came to Malaysia and stayed with me for two weeks. She said that I paid attention to her, expressed myself more and no longer ‘stayed in my own world’,” she said.

“I tell them I love them all the time and I don’t hesitate to say that anymore. I dream of taking care of them when they are older like how they do now with me,” Umeira added.

Her newfound understanding with people inspired her to chase her dreams to be a volunteer part-time psychologist who reach out to those in need while working in an accounting firm or later, become a full-time sole trader.

“It has been my lifelong dream to offer free part-time consultation to people who cannot afford its exorbitant fee and have real life issues because I want to make a change in this world. I want them to know that they are important and suicide is not a solution,” she said.

“I lost a friend to suicide before. He had problems with his family and girlfriend. He was only 20 then. I want to help people like him. I want to help as many people as I can in future.”

Umeira is currently a second year student who wants to take up a part-time psychology programme after settling down with her first full-time job upon graduation.

The Taylor's Team