Yes, I know how incredible that may sound to some, especially if your life hasn’t gone the way you expected. You’ve probably also had some painful experiences involving either someone else deciding against you in a single instance or many others using their agency across multiple instances. Maybe you’ve experienced both. But even if you’ve had the whole world against you, I still say seek and expect miracles.
Believe in miracles
We typically think of miracles as events that defy the laws of nature. For me, miracles are manifestations of one or more universal laws we don’t understand fully.
This shift in perspective is essential to why I say we should seek and expect miracles. The perspectives we take and the assumptions we embrace are everything; they’re key components of our thinking, which produces our actions, which in turn produces our results. In the end, we all want results, so when we don’t get desired results, we need to examine our thinking.
President Nelson begins his comments on miracles with this declaration:
First, he illustrates his concept with the words of a single adult! And this wasn’t just any single. No, Moroni had everything ripped from him. He witnessed the destruction of his people in a horrible war, leaving him to wander alone for the safety of his own life. Yet he still declared fervent belief in miracles.
All lives have painful disappointments, but most don’t compare to Moroni’s. If in his circumstances he could find the strength to believe in miracles, could we not muster the courage to do the same?
President Nelson continued,
It’s not just Moroni but every book of scripture declaring belief in miracles — all the more reason to question our perspectives and assumptions leading us to disbelieve in miracles. While we question, we should remember the Prophet’s caveat: Miracles can take time and may not unfold how we expect. So often LDS singles seeking a miracle expect something so inconsistent with universal law they take the absence of their miracle as evidence against miracles.
Do the work
That last phrase caught my attention. How many LDS singles have approached their desire for a miracle “doubting nothing”? Most of us have doubts, some so much so they’re consumed by them. And yet “doubting nothing” is part of the price of faith we must pay for admission to the miracle show.
That means we’ve got work to do. It’s no surprise then to see President Nelson’s next words:
How often have we advocated taking ownership of your life, or doing what’s in your power, or partnering with the Lord? Results come from only one thing — action. To score points, you must quit sitting on the sidelines and get on the field. So often the miracle we want is perfection delivered to our doorstep. In reality, we need to partner with the Lord, accept His guidance, and do the work that will create our miracle.
Trust His promises
So many LDS singles wanting a miracle are faint. They’re weary. They’re beat down by the vicissitudes of life that point their gaze towards their weaknesses and imperfections, leaving them to wonder how their miracle could ever happen.
But none of that matters when you partner with the Lord, for He “giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” With Him, we can do anything, even move the mountain seemingly standing before us.
So yes, even if you’ve had the whole world against you, I still say seek and expect miracles. Believe they can happen for you. Partner with the Lord and do the work you must do to have your miracle. You can then live with confidence that in time your miracle will happen. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
It takes practice, but it’s not difficult to think like the opposite gender. Both men and women think logically and rationally. Yes, it’s true. Men use intellectual logic based in reason. Women use emotional logic based in feeling. Once you understand these principles, remembering five magic words can help you experience more dating success.
Dealing with men
Of course, men and women have their own five magic words because men and women think differently. So first, brethren, let’s be gentlemen and help the ladies understand the five magic words for men: It must make intellectual sense.
Now, I can already hear some of you objecting, “Men are always following their hormones. They’re always chasing the hotties! Where’s the intellectual logic there?”
All men do think with their head. Unfortunately many don’t use the one between their shoulders. But let’s get real, ladies. Those are natural men chasing youth and beauty. Once you lose yours, they’ll lose you. What you really want is a covenant man who’ll prioritize making and keeping sacred covenants, take ownership of his life, and demonstrate leadership by making something of himself.
These men aren’t following hormones as much as they follow what makes sense. That’s how masculine men process thinking — with intellectual logic. If it makes sense, they accept it. If it doesn’t make sense, they reject it.
So ladies, stop, for example, trying to attract a man by increasing your own status. That works to attract a woman because it aligns with how a woman thinks. But men don’t think like women. It makes no sense to follow status because that doesn’t offer a man anything he values. And what sense does it make to chase after something of no value? It must make intellectual sense.
Dealing with women
Of course, women have their own five magic words. So brethren, let’s huddle around and learn the five magic words for women: New experience with desired emotion.
Once you understand these five magic words, you’ll have come a long way towards understanding women. That may surprise men fooled by the common myth that women are illogical and irrational. That’s simply not true. Women are completely logical and totally rational. Their logic simply has a different base.
Where men base their logic in intellect, women base their logic in emotion. Just as men accept what makes sense and reject what doesn’t, women accept what feels good and reject what doesn’t, because feeling good is the emotional equivalent of making sense. That’s why the five magic words for interacting with women are new experience with desired emotion.
Any man who’s had any experience with women can understand that experience better after applying the five magic words to view it. Once he does, he’ll understand why women always chase the bad boy, the muscle man, the money man, or the famous man. These men offer new experience with desired emotion.
Making better progress
There’s so much more about the five magic words that we’ll get into in the course of the broadcast today. They represent the key to learning how to think like the opposite gender. And it’s that type of thinking that can unlock the door to greater success with dating.
After all, it all goes back to the fundamentals we’ve discussed so often on this program and The World of TED. Every stage in the dating journey has an agreement. If you don’t secure the agreement for a particular stage, you don’t progress there. And the way to secure an agreement is to be agreeable enough.
Women who can offer men what makes intellectual sense and men who can offer women new experience with desired emotion have a huge advantage in being perceived as agreeable enough. So remember the five magic words. They’ll help you see the world through the eyes of the opposite gender. That perspective can help you approach dating prospects more effectively, encouraging better results. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
And with the world becoming more and more chaotic, life will become more challenging for everyone. Singles will feel those challenges more poignantly. It’s one thing to have a companion to share your burdens and support you. It’s quite another when you don’t. To all my single LDS friends, here’s all the more reason why you need to shore up your spiritual foundation by including the temple more in your life.
Strengthen your spiritual foundation
President Nelson began his remarks by sharing some progress made in strengthening the foundation of the Salt Lake Temple. I love how he draws a ready metaphor for establishing a foundation for our own spiritual lives. To that I would add the need for each of us to establish a solid foundation in every part of our lives: the emotional/social, the mental/intellectual, and the physical.
But clearly the spiritual foundation is the most important. The spiritual aspect of life contains the beliefs, values, and ethics that drive behavior in every other life aspect. We need to ensure the spiritual area of life is firmly founded.
President Nelson understood as much when, speaking of the Salt Lake Temple, he shared
President Nelson then shared the perfect place to build that solid spiritual foundation we all need — inside the temple. In reality, it’s living inside temple covenants that lays the actual bricks of our spiritual foundation. But all of that comes together in the temple. President Nelson taught
Look to the temple
All the blessings LDS singles look to receive are connected with the temple. Indeed, many of these blessings are the same blessings Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob sought and obtained — blessings available to all who make and keep the sacred covenants available only in the House of the Lord.
Those blessings came to those early fathers not all at once but incrementally. Likewise, the blessings LDS singles seek to obtain in their lives will not come all at once but “here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). President Nelson extended that idea to the great blessing of the Restoration:
If something as important to our Heavenly Father’s plan as the Restoration is still ongoing, His plan for each of us is surely ongoing as well. That thought prompts patience in LDS singles who yearn to have desired blessings now.
Embrace faith over fear
Including the temple at the center of our spiritual foundation can provide the faith needed to choose not only patience but also perseverance. Within the temple we learn of Christ and His Atonement, our Heavenly Father’s plan, and the connections He intends to forge across generations of the human family.
The temple also helps us navigate the road of life to as yet unrealized blessings. As chaos in the world grows, we can have the peace that surpasses all understanding, a quiet confidence God will support us when we feel all is lost. The temple and living inside the covenants made there can fill us with that faith.
That faith can help us resist fear. President Nelson counseled,
How many LDS singles live in fear the blessings they desire will not come to them? The temple and temple covenants provide the solid spiritual foundation from which we can each take needed action in the other aspects of our lives. We can trust Christ and His power to change us so we can more easily receive the blessings we seek.
So include the temple more in your spiritual foundation. The unprecedented times President Nelson foresees will call for unprecedented measures in the attention we give to our foundation and the renewal we provide daily to it. In so doing, we can live with greater confidence and optimism as our fears become memories of a distant past. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
The problem LDS singles have comes when they give too much prominence to what they want. Then dating becomes all about satisfying their demands to the exclusion of what they have to offer. As we discussed last week, taking your dating focus off of what you bring takes you out of alignment with the fundamentals of the dating journey. That’s why you need balance to find the right place for what you want in dating.
Be the best complement
As we’ve discussed more times than I can count, your focus determines your reality. So you won’t truly enjoy your dating journey with the wrong focus. Enjoying your dating journey requires a focus leading to that reality.
What’s that focus? There’s a huge clue in the definition of happiness we’ve discussed so many times on this program. Happiness is giving your all to all the right things for you. That definition applies just as much to dating as it does to any other part of life.
Being the best complement to your eternal companion, whether or not that person is now in your life, is one of those right things for you. And happiness comes when you give your all to that and every other right thing for you. That’s why truly enjoyable dating is about what you bring.
Yet too often LDS singles focus solely on themselves. They think of their dating journey as the search for what they want, so much so they think little if at all about what they bring to a potential relationship. As we discussed last week, it’s not about what you want. When you align yourself with the fundamentals of what you’re trying to do, you find your path to success easier.
Reject the natural mindset
Notice I said easier, not easy. The propensity to approach dating with the focus of what you want is rooted mainly in the natural mindset, which will dominate you if you don’t dominate it. And that fight for domination isn’t always easy.
That’s because the natural mindset always prioritizes self-gratification over all else. The natural mindset also always leads to misery. What else do you expect from a constant focus on taking in order to satiate one’s own desires? We’ve all been around people who constantly take and give little if anything in return. No one wants to be around those people.
We all want to be around those who constantly give and take little if anything in return. So your dating focus should be on being that person. Be the complement your companion needs, and you’ll more easily find the complement you need in a companion.
Stop chasing after complication
This isn’t to say that what you want plays no role in dating. You’ll of course make choices in who you decide to date, both casually and exclusively. In these two stages of the dating journey, you have many opportunities to express what you want and the individual uniqueness underlying those inclinations.
But ultimately what you want from your dating journey is a thriving, enriching relationship. What you want is a complement. Yet too many chase complication by focusing their efforts too much on what they want to receive and too little on what they have to give. When you adjust your focus to align with the fundamentals of the dating journey, you’ll stop embracing complication in your dating life because you’ll quit chasing after it.
Balancing what you want in a companion and what you should be in a companion isn’t easy. But LDS singles who strive to strike that balance center their efforts around complementation. They focus on being a better complement for the person they want in their life. This is the right place for what you want in dating. When you embrace it, dating really will become more about what you bring. You’ll find it easier to make you a better you and make your life more interesting, thereby making you more agreeable to a potential partner. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Why wanting doesn’t work
On the surface, that may sound counterintuitive. How can dating not be about what you want? How could dating even pretend to bring any semblance of happiness without accounting for individual preference? Am I suggesting we’re all interchangeable parts or that we should embrace arranged marriages?
No, we’re not interchangeable parts. And although there have been days I wished I could have an arranged marriage just so the frustrations of my dating life would end, those days are far behind me. Now I approach dating differently, and my approach comes from more effective thinking which aligns better with the fundamentals of the dating journey.
We’ve discussed countless times in previous broadcasts about one such fundamental: To progress to any stage of the dating journey, you must have the requisite agreement. And how do you secure that agreement? How do you secure any agreement? You do it by being agreeable enough. So if you aren’t progressing in your journey, you need to become more agreeable.
This is why dating isn’t about what you want. You can want all you want, but no amount of wanting will compensate for not meeting the other person’s definition of agreeable enough. It’s easy to focus on how the other person’s standards are unrealistically high. But even if they really are, you still won’t progress in your dating journey if you aren’t agreeable enough. That’s why it’s called a fundamental.
Why bringing works better
Yet many LDS singles approach dating with the assumption it’s about what they want. And many LDS singles experience great frustration with dating. That’s not a coincidence. The one follows the other like night follows day.
Instead of approaching dating with the idea it’s about what you want, focus instead on what you bring. Think about it. The ideal marriage is the union of two imperfect people who help each other achieve perfection. That last part — “help each other achieve perfection” — isn’t based in either partner taking. It comes from each partner giving. It’s about what you bring, not what you want.
Of course, to give, you must have something to give. That’s where working on yourself and having a personal ministry take center stage. When you improve upon yourself and devote yourself to making your own unique combination of goodness to the world, you build an interesting life that others find more inviting. Fundamentally, you become more agreeable.
Bring on the real
I’m not saying what you want doesn’t factor into dating at all. There is a place for expressing and acting on personal preferences. It’s just not behind the driver’s seat of the most effective approach.
And you do have the option of finding someone whose standards of acceptance are low enough to admit you just as you are, but that’s not the more satisfying route. You’ll likely attract only others who want to stay as they are, and a union with such a person is just a mediocre existence. The real relationship is one that leaves you better for being a part of it. That’s one where each partner gives freely to the other, not just exist in the same space.
Dating is not about what you want but about what you bring. Embracing that truth allows you to adopt a more effective approach to dating. You’ll more easily embrace the work needed to make you a better you. You’ll put yourself in service to others. Then you’ll experience the satisfaction of making progress. You’ll piece together your best life and thereby increase your probability of finding the companion who will with you make an truly real and ennobling relationship. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Let me say it again. No matter who you choose, your partner will never be perfect. Everyone on this planet has shortcomings, failings, inabilities, and other assorted nuances separating each one of us from perfection.
Why then do so many LDS singles look for perfection when dating? It’s understandable no one wants to be miserable for eternity. But many also don’t want to do the work to become more attractive to that “perfect” someone. They believe they should be loved just as they are.
Many also believe they shouldn’t have to settle. As the belief goes, only perfection can offer eternal bliss. “Settling” by accepting anything less simply means condemning oneself to eternal misery. And again, no one wants to be miserable forever.
But these assumptions lead to the results many LDS singles have of living year after year without the companion they desire. If you want different results, you need different action, and that comes when you think differently. But thinking differently means questioning (among other things) assumptions. So LDS singles who want to turn their lives around should start by questioning their assumptions.
Let’s start by questioning the assumption your companion should love you as you are. That sounds reasonable on its surface. After all, God loves you just as you are, so anyone who doesn’t isn’t trying to be like God and so isn’t marriage material.
But that assumption neglects this truth: God doesn’t want you to stay as you are. He sees what you can become. Because where you’re going is much more important than where you are, aligning your focus with that eternal truth changes your thinking from insisting on being loved as you are to owning your life and doing what you can to move your life in a favorable direction. Different thinking leads to different action which leads to different results.
Likewise for the idea that “settling” for anything but the best leads to eternal misery. It presents a false dichotomy. Either you’re happy forever, or you’re miserable forever. There’s no other option. And it seems reasonable, especially if you judge by your emotions.
But this assumption rests on another assumption that we know what the best is. The truth is we often don’t. Feelings aren’t knowledge, so however something feels, reality can be (and often is) quite different. When you accept that assumption, it’s easier to believe someone you think might not be good for you actually could be. That belief opens the door to accepting opportunities you might otherwise reject. And those actions lead to different results.
Really it all comes down to what we’ve discussed here before. The perfect companion for you is not a perfect person nor a perfect match with your ideal candidate. Rather the perfect companion for you is the imperfect person with whom you align in values and life direction and who will give freely as you help each other become perfect together.
That’s the essential meaning behind helpmeet — someone who helps you meet your potential. Again, everyone is imperfect. But when you align yourself with true principles such as prioritizing an alignment of values and life direction and valuing making and keeping sacred covenants above all else, you can better find the imperfect person who can be the perfect helpmeet for you.
Although never the best, your imperfect companion, when you choose wisely, can help you become the happiest you can possibly be. So question your assumptions so you can align them with eternal truth. Then your assumptions will drive more effective thinking, which will lead to more effective actions, which in turn will produce more effective results. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Imagine that — a quality so essential that nearly everyone has it on their dating deal breaker list, and yet not everyone understands it to be the same thing. And that’s a problem, because you could be your own worst obstacle if you don’t know what compatibility really is.
What it’s not
Success comes more easily to those who conform to true principles. When your approach deviates from those, you make it harder on yourself. And compatibility really is essential in building a successful long-term relationship.
But first let’s talk about what compatibility is not. Compatibility is not liking the same things. Many LDS singles believe this, including myself in my younger days. But as I gained experience I began to see the error in this thinking. Liking the same things won’t get you through the challenging times. And challenging times come into every marriage.
Perhaps more common these days is the misconception that compatibility is matching some idea of perfection. The more a candidate matches your ideal companion — or what you think is your ideal — the more compatible you two are. This idea assumes a perfect match will bring you a successful long-term relationship. And why wouldn’t it if the candidate is perfect? Because what you think is perfect probably isn’t.
It’s natural to think you know what your perfect match is. But so often what we think and what actually is aren’t quite the same. And even if they were, perfect would bore you to tears. Joy in life comes in the journey, meaning you need to be changing, improving, progressing. There’s nowhere to go with perfect.
What it is
So if these things aren’t compatibility, then what is? Compatibility is an alignment in values and life purpose. The more alignment you have with someone, the more compatible you are.
Why is this true compatibility? It’s the alignment of values and life direction that’ll pull you through the difficulties that come into every relationship. We all make decisions consistent with our values, so sharing similar values means naturally agreeing to the same decisions more easily more often.
Moreover, traveling in different directions will make it harder to stay together because the desire to move in different directions creates tension in your relationship. If you and your companion persist in not aligning, you’ll eventually relieve the tension through separation. How much easier it is to stay together if you want to take your lives in the same direction!
Get on it
The alignment of values and life direction is true compatibility. And it’s essential for quality long-term relationships. But it rarely just comes without work. Marriage is hard work because it requires you to work not so much on your relationship as on yourself. The work is in aligning yourselves to a shared set of values and life direction.
That doesn’t mean all your values are identical or that you have the exact same vision of what to make of your life together. But it does mean you’re aligned enough in those areas that you fit together like a hand in a glove. Because values and life direction can change as we age, spouses must continue to work at alignment as they grow old together. It’s in this way they thrive in their relationship as they help each other become more and more perfect.
When you know what compatibility really is, you can then focus your dating approach towards what really matters most. You can emphasize eternal values in your relationships. You can begin to see others for where they’re going and not just where they are. Instead of looking for what’s wrong with potential candidates, you can savor more of the good they have to offer. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
See the situation
The story begins with Phil Connors, the weatherman for Channel 9 News in Pittsburgh. The man is clearly full of himself, so it’s no surprise no one really likes him, not even himself. He’s a rather disgruntled man who thinks covering the Groundhog Day Festival is beneath him.
So imagine his shock when he wakes up thinking it’s February 3rd only to find out it’s February 2nd again. The bewilderment continues as each morning he wakes up to find that somehow in his sleep he went back in time by one day. He keeps living the same day over and over again.
His first reaction is denial. This can’t be happening to me! Denial drives resistance, but no matter how he fights against his situation, the next morning is always February 2nd again. His denial then turns into despair. This report he gives at the festival summarizes his condition rather well.
That day ended in suicide, but it doesn’t end him. In despair, Phil keeps trying to kill himself in different ways trying unsuccessfully to escape his never-ending cycle.
Note the pivot
And then one of those February 2nd days becomes a pivot day when everything changes. Phil doesn’t escape the never-ending cycle, but he does find a new perspective on his situation. And what changed everything was Rita.
Rita is Phil’s producer. She’s also the apple of his eye. Previously he spent God knows how many successive February 2nd days trying to get into her pants. But on his pivot day, Phil approaches Rita with a different agenda. Instead of trying to satiate his lust, he sincerely cries for help. (Why do I have a Rick Astley song in my head right now?) Rita helps him and in the process begins to fall for him.
Of course, that disappears when everything resets the next morning. But Phil remains changed, and he starts spending his February 2nd days improving upon himself, working to become a better, more quality person. He takes up reading all kinds of books. He learns to play the piano. He takes up ice sculpting! Not only do his efforts make him a better person, they make his life more interesting.
And the proof is in this report. It’s the same day, same festival, but a completely different Phil.
Once he stopped trying to escape his situation and embraced it, Phil was able to tap into the joy life has to offer every single day. In the end, he escapes the cycle and gets the girl.
Take a lesson
The allegory here to LDS singles is so clear I wonder why I didn’t see it earlier. How many of us singles are in denial? No, I can’t be single. This can’t be happening to me! And no matter what we do to fight it, we seem caught in a never-ending cycle of singleness from which we cannot escape.
But if we’d stop trying to escape from it and start embracing it, we could turn everything around. We could start looking inside ourselves and working to become better, more quality people. We can do things to make our lives more interesting. We could tap into the joy God wants us to have every single day.
And we could help other singles to have their pivot day. Just as Rita helped turn things around for Phil, we can reach out to one another. Instead of looking only to satiate our own agendas when we interact with each other, we could help each other live better lives.
When we take a lesson from Groundhog Day, we can make the most of what seems to be a never-ending cycle of singleness. By embracing our situation instead of trying to escape from it, we can live our best life and help others to do the same. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Understand the two logics
We all process our world and our place in that world with the way we think. Understanding how men and women naturally think can then help us understand why men and women can’t really do without each other.
To the surprise of many men, men and women are both logical. Women are biologically hardwired with emotional logic. They process their experiences in terms of how they feel. Men, on the other hand, are biologically hardwired with intellectual logic. They process their experiences in terms of how rational they are. Women naturally think with emotion, whereas men naturally think with rationale.
Thus, the same event often elicits completely different responses from men and women. Take ghosting, for example. A man goes out several times with the same woman who then suddenly goes completely AWOL. The man’s bewildered because, using intellectual logic, it’s rational to expect a continuation of what’s already happened several times. It doesn’t make intellectual sense for the woman to disappear.
But it could make emotional sense. If she doesn’t feel what she wants to feel from the relationship, the woman has no natural motivation to continue it. And since those often unpleasant conversations introduce undesired feelings, from an emotional logic standpoint, it makes perfect sense to avoid it, hence the disappearing act.
Embrace complements in life
Once we understand how they naturally think, it’s easier to understand why men and women need each other. It’s also easier to understand why modern feminism’s lie is just that — a lie.
I presume the woman whose comment inspired this episode was frustrated with dating because she doesn’t understand the fundamentals of what’s she’s trying to do. Very few of us do when it comes to dating — that’s why I wrote a book about it. Frustration feels negative, so it makes emotional sense for the woman to retract. She then believes the lie she doesn’t need a man, swears off dating, and feels “liberated.” That positive emotion naturally motivates a woman to embrace that direction and even think it’s the “right” one.
Only it’s not. Truly holistic intelligence is both intellectual and emotional. Truth makes sense to both components of intelligence, not just one. And this is why men and women need each other. Men best learn emotional intelligence with the help of women. Women best learn intellectual intelligence with the help of men. Only together do men and women best learn their naturally missing complement and become truly whole.
Enjoy your dating more
Of course, men can be emotional and women can be intellectual. I’m simply stating the natural hardwiring inherent in our biology. And understanding that inherent biology can improve our dating journey. Dating frustrates many LDS singles who use the logic they inherently have instead of its complement. An approach grounded in the logic of the intended audience can bring better results.
For example, some women get frustrated when men don’t seem impressed with their extra education. Status means quite a bit to the natural woman because of how it makes her feel. But it doesn’t mean anything to the natural man because it’s not rational to take care of a woman who can clearly take care of herself.
I’m not saying women shouldn’t be educated. I’m simply saying approaches that consider the intended audience tend to bring better results than those that don’t.
In the end, men and women need each other. Only with the help of the other can we each become more whole. So stop thinking solely in terms of your naturally endowed component of intelligence. Include in your life those of the opposite gender who can help you. When you open your thinking to embrace the complementary component, you’ll grow in your understanding of your life experiences. You’ll become more accepting of past failures and more resilient to future potential emotional disasters. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Clearly, the Savior understood that power. His ministering example teaches all the love generated when we give our full attention to others. Indeed, one of the greatest gifts we can give to others is the gift of full attention.
Understand the fix
Society today hungers for attention, so much so everyone seems scrambling after it. Whatever new trick can potentially secure the attention of others finds its way onto the to-do list of many seeking to capture attention for their own gain. And these actors, feeling a scarcity of the attention they desire, saturate us with attention demand overload.
Combine that situation with the addictive nature of social media, and it’s not hard to understand why people give more attention to their phone than to people around them. Many take full advantage of the dopamine hits social media networks are designed to generate. And far too many of us surrender our agency to the addiction we hold in our hands and carry with us wherever we go.
We’ve discussed before on this program the mediocrity this life on autopilot creates. We break free by living in the moment, making conscious choices to move in the direction we determine and not just where the impulse of addiction would drive us. That’s what I love about the suggested action for today on the Light the World calendar. It encourages us to make a conscious choice to break free from impulse and move in a direction we consciously choose.
Choose real love
That conscious choice unlocks the real power of giving our full attention in our interactions. So doing sends a clear message: Out of all the choices I could make in this moment regarding where to place my attention, I choose you. This is part of why the gift of full attention is a truly a gift of love.
The other part deals with the basic human needs we all have to feel loved, needed, and belonging to something greater than ourselves. Putting down your phone and giving your full attention to others essentially tells them they are preferred, and realizing that preference generates in others the feeling of being loved, needed, and part of something bigger.
Now consider what happens when we don’t make that conscious choice to give full attention. We tell others through our actions we choose something else over them, that something else is preferred. And that preference generates in others feelings of not being loved, needed, or part of something bigger.
I still remember the love generated during a single adult conference 12 years ago when an attendee chose to give me full attention. Our exchange lasted only five minutes, yet the influence of that seemingly small choice in how to spend five minutes has lasted 12 years, and the end is not in sight. The gift of full attention is truly a gift that keeps on giving.
Expand the power
And we need not limit the power of that gift to just the one small act the Light the World calendar suggests for today. We can expand our influence even further by practicing active listening in all settings.
Our society suffers substantially from a lack of listening. People think listening means simply hearing the words other people say. Meanwhile, they look for chances to inject what they want to say into a conversation. But real, active listening involves hearing what others say with the intent to understand them. Instead of looking for breaks to project our own selves onto others, we can use those same opportunities to try to understand others. In so doing, we help others feel loved and thereby expand the power the gift of full attention can provide.
So today and every day, let’s give more of the gift that keeps on giving. Let’s give the gift of full attention. When we do, our seeming small act of surrender to love will invite others to do the same. And when they do, the cycle will continue, resulting in a better world filled with the light and goodness of love. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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