All posts by Jordan

Being Grateful For Our Blessings

Gratitude.

It’s a trait that is associated with happy, successful and wealthy people all over the world. 

But what exactly is gratitude? 

I’m not talking about the definition. Sure, it’s good to be grateful, but what does it look like to live a grateful life? What does it feel like? Is it a peaceful warmth that floods your chest? Is it where the voice in your head that says: “Do more – NOW” goes quiet? Is it the subtle confidence that things will work out? Gratitude plays a large role in a new area of psychology called positive psychology. From my experience in psychology along with my foundation in New Church teachings, I can see a connection: there is an underlying spiritual foundation that supports many of these concepts. Accordingly, I was excited to see how gratitude could be applied to my life. Of course, you don’t become grateful overnight. It takes months of patience and practice and, even then, everyone has their ups and downs. A great way to start out is by turning to the Word, but just sitting and reading all the time left me restless. I wanted to take action!

About four years ago, I experimented with practicing gratefulness every day.   

It was much harder than I anticipated.

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The Art of Conversation

The first thing I noticed when I arrived in the U.S. was the accents. It was surreal…it felt like I was on a movie set! Three years later, I don’t notice them anymore, however, it has certainly made me more conscious of the way I speak and what I say. As I find my words becoming infected with an American accent, I am reminded of how important communication is. We talk to people every day – it is a vital part of our lives, and yet, I often find myself struggling to communicate effectively with people. 

A conversation with a stranger is simple: learn their name, learn something about them, wish them well. Sometimes you might need something from them, such as assistance at a checkout or directions. It is conversations with acquaintances or even friends, however, that I find difficult. There are many possible reasons for this: we are all subject to the human desire to be accepted and we don’t want to be ridiculed by someone for a simple, snap judgment that is based on limited information. We want to be seen as ‘nice people’. Still, no matter what excuses we come up with to not have deep conversations with people—whether it be to maintain a good impression or to protect ourselves from judgment and rejection—it is still necessary to have these conversations. Human connection requires it. We require shared experiences that discourage us from focusing solely on ourselves and sharing shows us that no one really has it figured out, we’re all flawed and learning as we go. 

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