Monday, October 20, 2014

Oil in Our Lamps

We all know what the instruction is about the gas mask in airlines. If traveling with children, we have to put it on ourselves before we put it on our children. And if you are traveling with more than one child, you have to decide beforehand which one is your favorite.

Seriously, I believe that the story of the 10 virgins and the bridegroom is ultimately about being prepared for our Savior, but I also know that it is about being prepared for what life can throw at us. I know that I have been not only blessed but oftentimes saved from emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual duress because I had spiritual oil in my lamp.

I have benefited immensely from daily prayer and scripture study. For me what started as a checklist duty has now evolved into a life-changing and life-saving experience. It has prepared me to be ready and willing to have my Savior come into and bless my life.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Kindness is Powerful

I have still been reflecting on the insight of the meaning of the word admonish especially as it relates to the marriage relationship. As I said in yesterday's post, the definition of admonish is friendly encouragement and so when I read in Mosiah 26:39 that God's word admonishes us, I realize that my loving Father in Heaven offers me friendly encouragement to do better. And because I want to follow His example, I too must provide that kind of kind encouragement towards others, especially my spouse.

I mentioned John Gottman's research and how he discovered four behaviors between spouses that would predict divorce. The most significant one was having and showing contempt. Contempt in particular is a potent mix of anger and disgust. Expressing contempt involves speaking to your spouse like he is “beneath” you, or mocking your partner in a cold, sarcastic way.

It is so easy to think that scolding or criticizing will help another person improve. But after years of my own research (call me a quick study), I have found it is simply counter productive.  Kindness and heartfelt understanding is powerful. It is looking beyond the behavior and realizing that the behavior in and of itself has negative consequences and is punitive--I don't need to be. It is never accepting the bad behavior nor giving up high expectations but it is remaining kind and supportive in our spouse's quest for improvement. It is realizing that if I offer contempt instead of kindness, I can do so much more damage. Maybe even more damage than the initial infraction. When they say, it isn't what happens but how we respond that matters; it is true. Respond with kindness and friendly encouragement.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Scripture Reading

I value inspired words found in the sacred writings of scriptures. The best start of my day is to read and understand the words and the message contained. What started out for me to be a check-list task has turned into enlightenment that gives me course correction and new direction.

This morning as I reflected on the word "admonish" I was led to new understanding on how I should treat people with friendly encouragement. I was reminded of research done by John Gottman about what has been found to be a predictor of divorce. His research validates what I just read in the scriptures and because I can trust what is found in scripture, I can trust the scientific study that supports it.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Positive Psychology & Religious Beliefs

I have officially started teaching the Positive Psychology class and have had remarkable women come. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time and it feels good to see it happen and be able to pursue my passion.

I watched a program the other day on CNN with Lisa Lang about prescription drug addiction in Utah. It was heart retching to watch the struggle of someone who's pain medicine addiction turned into a heroine addiction. I couldn't help but think that I wished I could do something to help people. I told the class last night that I realized doing this class was a way to offer preventative "medicine" in order to discover peace and happiness without mind altering drugs or alcohol.

One of the things that I said the first week in the class about Positive Psychology is that it is a scientific study of what makes people thrive and find greater well being and life satisfaction. What I appreciate about the research is that it has correlated a belief in God and participation in religion with happiness. For me, my academic study and trust in scientific research has to be in line with my spiritual beliefs and faith, and with Positive Psychology I have found that to be the case. I simply cannot separate the two.