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Psychologist reveals 2000-year-old Korean concept that helps people foster close relationships

Psychology expert Dr. Jihee Cho shares 6 ways in which people can incorporate the concept of 'Jeong' into their lives.

Psychologist reveals 2000-year-old Korean concept that helps people foster close relationships
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels| Anna Shvets

Happiness seems to be the most desired entity for people. After a certain age, people more or less understand that life makes no sense without joy and laughter. Psychology expert Dr. Jihee Cho understands it very well, as she comes across individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship difficulties and identity issues in her practice daily. All of these individuals prioritize happiness but believe it is a far-reaching pursuit. To make it easy for people, Cho swears by a 2,000-year-old concept in her Korean culture known as "Jeong." This concept contains some principles that if followed properly, can lead to a satisfactory life, as reported by CNBC.

Representative Cover Image: Pexels/Antonius Ferret
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Antonius Ferret

Jeong is a highly respected concept prevalent in Korean culture. The central objective is to develop warm attachments with other objects. These objects could be anything in the world - the only requirement is a deep bond. With this concept, humans cultivate these bonds through the virtue of shared experiences. The main takeaway is that when individuals feel Jeong towards someone, they formulate a sense of protection towards them, which in turn gives their life meaning.

Representative Image Source: Pexels/ Keira Burton
Representative Image Source: Pexels/ Keira Burton

Cho believes daily life has become so hectic that people are actively losing the opportunity to establish Jeong with others. Therefore, she helps her patients and the people she knows to develop it in their lives. She prescribes them to abide by certain principles such as planning regular quality time with loved ones. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels/Any Lane
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Any Lane

It is vital for people to develop close bonds with individuals they care about in their lives. Hence, they must make time for them by arranging dinners or trips. Anything that leads to conversation and a chance to know each other more deeply should be prioritized. In Cho's words, "It allows us to reconnect, share experiences, support each other and foster a sense of belonging."

Cho also suggests that to experience the benefits of jeong, individuals should always be looking for opportunities to help others. It will help them expand their network of meaningful connections in the world. She suggests giving rides to others, cooking for others, giving others a hand with their household repairs, providing others an empathetic ear for conversation and being open with their own knowledge.



Representative Image Source: Pexels/ Photo by fauxels
Representative Image Source: Pexels |  fauxels

As per Cho, individuals should really know the people around them and create opportunities where they all can come together. It will deepen connections and also create memories. It will contribute to enhancing people's lives. She suggests a potluck, where every participant brings a dish that reflects their culture or participates in traditions close to the heart of friends.

Representative Image Source: Pexels/Andres Ayrton
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Andres Ayrton

People must also try proactively to be a meaningful presence in their community. Cho asks individuals to be willing to reach out to new people and engage in the interests of existing groups. She asks them to focus on neighbors and the relationship they have with them. The relationship can be sweetened with a homemade gift. People can also reach out to groups with whom they have a shared identity, like parent groups or churches. As far as newcomers are concerned, she suggests making them feel "noticed, welcomed and included."

Also, rather than avoid being vulnerable, Cho believes it should be incorporated by people in their interactions. To establish meaningful relationships, people should be authentic in their approach. If people are dishonest or engage in pretense, the relationship formed will not be satisfactory. Hence, Cho believes people should expand their boundaries when sharing their thoughts and experiences. Her opinion is, "When we let go of that fear, we create opportunities for a greater understanding of ourselves and of others."



In this era, people have developed an incessant dependence on technology. People have more of a relationship with their devices than those around them. Therefore, having a deep and honest relationship is necessary by keeping these distractions aside. Cho wants people to invest their full being in the relationship they are trying to create. It requires them to be present and attentive to other people's opinions and feelings. She encourages people to "go beyond the surface."


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