Communication 101

blueprintHave you ever thought about the importance of knowing who you are and how you fit into the scheme of things, both temporal and eternal? I was thinking about it this morning, and seeing more clearly than ever before the importance of this most necessary element of our lives. It is something like the internal programming of a computer. Without it, there would be no computer, or for that matter, no machines of any kind, for every man-made mechanical servant must have a blueprint which dictates the specific service it will perform for the good of all who use it.

It is the same in nature, as well, for every living thing, whether great or small, has a design which has been placed there by our Creator, and each functions by the rules placed within it, which guides its destiny and purpose. But man is unique among all created things, for we are created in the image of God, and have been given a will and the power of choice, by which we may influence and change our destiny. We are not robots or machines, or living things such as we see in the rest of nature. Our brains and bodies have been created to be dynamic, changeable, infinitely growing and expanding as long as life shall last, even in eternity.

As a counselor, I see the effects of the will upon human beings, both for good and for evil. Unfortunately, most of the programming for our lives has been already done by the time we reach the age of accountability. We are a recipient of the lives of those who have gone before us, and by what has been given us since our conception. If that has been good, we are fortunate; if it has been bad, we are at a disadvantage.

babySome think that babies are born innocent, and with a clean slate. However, that is not the case. The Scriptures point out that babies at birth are already under the influence of good or evil. For example, these quotations from Psalms and Isaiah show that both good and/or evil can be operational in a person’s life even from the womb:

“You brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” Ps. 22:9, 10.

“From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.” Ps. 71:6.

“You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Ps. 139:13-16.

“Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth He has made mention of my name.” Isa. 49:1.

“This is what the LORD says––He who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you.” Isa. 44:2.

“This is what the LORD says––your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb.” Vs. 24.

“Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies. Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, that will not heed the tune of a charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.” Ps. 58:3-5.

DNAMany have wondered why God instructed His people in the Old Testament to destroy whole cities or tribes, even the babies and children. Fortunately, modern science has now confirmed the Biblical truth that sin and its effects are passed on from generation to generation through the genes, the varied experiences of the child in the womb, and even the DNA of body cells.

So with David we can say, “I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Ps. 51:5. But praise the Lord, this is far from being the end of the story. God doesn’t make anything that He can’t fix! But before we begin to explore the way out of our dilemma, let’s search a little deeper into how we got this way in the first place.

The problem begins in the human brain. Thoughts produce chemicals which flow into the bloodstream, and in a pregnant mother, these chemicals go through the placental barrier into the brain of the developing child, influencing which neuron tendrils will connect, synapse, and form permanent pathways for the future thoughts and feelings of the child.

Babies are also profoundly affected by what is going on outside the womb. One article in Reader’s Digest pictured an infant resting quietly and sucking its thumb until, upon hearing the voices of its parents, it removed its thumb, snuggled up close to the side of the womb nearest the voices, and placed its ear against the wall of the uterus.

Glandular secretions also pass the placental barrier, and enter the bloodstream of the child, as do drugs and alcohol, and other substances taken into the body of the mother. So the child is powerfully influenced by whatever is going on in the life of the mother. Thus, a child can be a drug addict or alcoholic at birth –– or addicted to temper tantrums, nervous anxiety, fears of all types, sexual aberrations, etc., depending upon what he or she experienced in the womb.

Imagine, if you will, a scene where the mother and father of a child in utero are arguing heatedly, with the resulting stress, anger, fear, tears, and whatever other emotions, sounds, and released body chemicals that go along with such experiences. Compound this with stress relievers used, such as sugar products, drugs, alcohol, tranquilizers, cigarettes, or other methods used to calm the nerves of the mother, and you can see how babies can be born with predispositions to such things.

thoughtEven the most secret thoughts of the mother can influence the unborn child. I often encounter these things as I counsel people. One friend years ago was afflicted by an inordinate fear of death. Nothing seemed to help her to be free from these unpleasant thoughts. Finally I asked her, “Did your mother ever consider abortion while she was carrying you?” “I don’t know,” she answered, “but I will ask her.”

Sometime later, she reported to me that her mother had, indeed, considered abortion while she was in her first trimester of pregnancy. After we worked through this issue and took it to the Lord, she was no longer assailed by a compulsive fear of death.

So the good news is that God has provided a way of escape from the disease of sin. No matter what your experience has been, both before and after your birth, there can be healing through a relationship with Jesus. Through Him we can have new paradigms of thought. We can be born again with new thought patterns, new emotions, and a new, heavenly inheritance.

But my story does not end here. God wants to solicit our help in this transformation. Jesus is the Bridegroom, and we are His bride. And just as it takes two people to produce a child, so it takes the cooperation of the body of Christ, His church, His people, to provide a safe, growing atmosphere of love for the spiritually new babies and the growing family of believers that He has in mind for us. So let’s go back and explore the journey that will take us to repaired blueprints and healed people.

First, we will need to learn a new language –– the language of love. As the old song says, “God is love! We’re His little children. God is love – we would be like Him.” And in this language there are no put-downs, no criticism, no gossiping, no anger, resentment, harshness, bitterness, malice, suspicion, rudeness, impatience, blaming, faultfinding, snide remarks, or unkindness of any kind.

“What!” I can hear some of you say. “I am just a human being. I slip up, sometimes. I might have a bad hair day, and then it’s hard to be nice! Nobody is nice ALL the time!”

Welllllllllll………. Jesus IS nice all the time, and He is our Bridegroom. He needs a bride who will reflect Him accurately to others. Of ourselves we can do nothing, but with Him living inside of us, all things are possible. First, we have to be “fixed” ourselves. We have to let go of the old man of sin, and take on the new Man.

That’s why Paul says: “GET RID OF ALL bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.” Eph. 4:31-5:2.

So there is a taking off of our old self, defiled as it is from the beginning of our lives, and a putting on of a new way of thinking and feeling. That’s a process, –– right? In my experience, it doesn’t happen in a moment. Salvation happens in a moment when I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.

But becoming like Him happens in my day by day walk with Him, and is a result of a relationship with Him that teaches me how to understand His ways, think His thoughts, feel His feelings, know His voice. In other words, it is like going back to the womb and being reprogrammed –– this time by my Creator instead of my earthly parents, who, like me, were fallible and made mistakes.

But we can help to speed up this process of spiritual growth if we are more like Jesus in our relationships with one another. The more we represent the old man of sin, the harder it is for those around us to learn to walk the pathway to eternal life. So I would like to share some thoughts about what I have been learning that have helped me to make life easier for those whose lives I touch.

It is a new way of communicating that brings peace into the home, or wherever you practice it. I call it “the ladder principle,” for lack of a better name. However, I learned recently that it isn’t such a bad name after all, for it takes us back to Jacob’s encounter with God as he was running from his brother, Esau. That, too, was a ladder, and the meaning of the word in Hebrew is:
“To build up, heap up a highway, extol, to pile up; build up a highway; to esteem, cherish.” NIV Concordance.

It is the same meaning as is found in the Elijah message found in Isaiah:
“In the desert prepare the way for the LORD, make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isa. 40:3-5.

“Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations. The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: ‘Say to the Daughter of Zion, “See, your Savior comes! See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him.’” Isa. 62:10, 11.

So it is clear that before Jesus comes the second time, an Elijah message and work needs to be done for the people to prepare them for receiving Him. The stones must be removed, the rough places smoothed, the damage done by life and people must be repaired, before many precious ones are ready to see the Lord’s glory, or appreciate His loving attributes. Consider this insightful quotation from the pen of Ellen White:

“The reason there are so many hardhearted men and women in our world is that true affection has been regarded as weakness and has been discouraged and repressed. The better part of the nature of persons of this class was perverted and dwarfed in childhood, and unless rays of divine light can melt away their coldness and hardhearted selfishness, the happiness of such is buried forever. If we would have tender hearts such as Jesus had when He was upon the earth, and sanctified sympathy, such as angels have for sinful mortals, we must cultivate the sympathies of childhood…. Commend your children whenever you can. Make their lives as happy as possible. Keep the soul of the heart mellow by the manifestation of love and affection, thus preparing it for the seed of truth.” ML 173.

But until recently, all these wonderful words in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy didn’t change my way of relating to people, especially my family members, significantly enough to see the results that I was looking for. I tried to be nice all the time anyway, but there still seemed to be something missing. That “something” has proved to be the ladder principle. In a nutshell, here it is.

  • Never say anything negative, teachy, preachy, instructive, parent-child, critical, blaming, bossy, judgmental, reactive, or leave them with a feeling that you disapprove of them.
  • Always find honest ways and words that express approval, affirmation, appreciation, admiration, encouragement, honoring, building up, empathizing, understanding, nurturing, and leave them with the assurance that they are valued, accepted and loved.

Here are a few of the many texts and quotations that express this heavenly principle:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Eph. 4:29, 30.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col. 4:6.

“Tender affections should ever be cherished between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. Every hasty word should be checked, and there should not be even the appearance of the lack of love for one another. It is the duty of everyone in the family to be pleasant, to speak kindly. Cultivate tenderness, affection, and love that have expression in little courtesies, in speech, in thoughtful attentions. It is the inward adorning, the graces of the Spirit, the kind word, the thoughtful consideration for others that God values.” SD 83.

“But,” you may say, “my husband (wife, son, daughter, or other family member) is so unkind to me. How can I be affirming and kind to him (or them) all the time?”

The ladder principle is applicable to everyone, small or great, male or female, anytime, anywhere. Here is how to apply it.

  1. In any conversation, listen carefully to what is being said, and reply in an affirming and understanding way. Do not bring in something from your own experience that is similar, but not directly related to the other person’s comment.
  2. Example:
    “My mother-in-law is coming for a visit next week. I’m really worried that I will not be ready, because I have so much to do right now.”

    Inappropriate response:

    “Really? I’m glad my mother-in-law is not coming right now! I’m as busy as a beaver this summer. With the kid’s swimming lessons, music lessons, Bill’s vacation coming up, weekly quilting bee, and my part time job, I’m swamped!”

    Appropriate response:
    “I’m sorry, Janet. That must put a lot of pressure on you. I know you are such a conscientious housekeeper and like everything to be in order when guests come. Is there anything I can do to help?”

  3. Be careful to “build up” the other person, “according to their needs.” Knowing enough about the person to correctly recognize his or her specific needs is helpful. But the general need for everyone is to be recognized, appreciated and affirmed.
  4. Example:
    “I’m really upset with my work situation right now. It seems that the boss has a special dislike for me. He singles me out to correct when anything goes wrong, and often does it in front of others. If he keeps this up, I’m going to quit my job.

    Inappropriate response:
    “Oh, John, I certainly hope you are not serious. You know how much we need your income right now. Surely you can swallow your pride and try to appease the boss so you can keep your job for me and the children. It seems that you change jobs every few years, and it takes us months to catch up on the bills. I just can’t believe you are going to put us through this again!”

    Appropriate response:
    “Oh, John, I’m so sorry that you are having such a difficult experience at work. I know you are a conscientious, hard worker. It must be embarrassing to have your boss treat you that way, especially in front of others. Perhaps we can pray about it together this evening. I do hope it will not come to a parting of the ways, but I understand how tempting that would be. Would you like for me to run a hot bath for you to help you relax? Then perhaps we can talk some more about it after the children go to bed.

  5. Always bring out the positive aspects in a person’s character as much as possible, never the negative. Remember: Seeds sown spring up and bear fruit. Good words are like good seeds. Words are creative and powerful. God uses good words. Satan uses bad words, and/or a combination of good and bad calculated to deceive more readily. Good words help to reprogram and reformat the negative thinking and bad experiences of the past, and give new neuron pathways for the Holy Spirit to use in the person’s mind.
  6. Example:
    “I had a terrible day at school. The teacher was down on me, and the kids laughed at me when I couldn’t get a math problem right. Then when we were playing ball, my team lost because I struck out, and everybody was mad and blamed me. At lunch no one wanted to sit at my table, and I was all alone. I didn’t even feel like eating, so I gave my lunch away. What’s wrong with me, Mom? I must be the most stupid person ever born!”

    Inappropriate responses:
    “Well, I’ll just call that teacher this afternoon and let her know that she can’t treat MY boy like a second class citizen! You are just as good as the next person, and maybe a little better! You just wait and see what happens when your mom goes to battle for you. I’ll take it to the principal if I have to!”
    “I can’t imagine why the teacher would treat you that way. You must have done something to cause it. Didn’t you study your lesson before going to school? I guess we will have to cut out some of that TV you have been watching. I’ve been telling you that for days. It’s probably why you struck out on the ball field, too. Just too many late nights and too much TV. I wish you hadn’t given your lunch away. There was a good banana in there, and a cookie, too. Next time you don’t feel like eating your lunch, the least you could do is bring it home so it isn’t wasted!”

    Appropriate response:
    “Sweetheart, I am so sorry you had a bad day today. It is so disappointing and embarrassing when we don’t do well in front of others. The children in your class were not being thoughtful, were they? I can certainly understand why you didn’t feel like eating your lunch, today. Tummies don’t want anything to digest when we are upset. I appreciate you giving your lunch to someone else instead of throwing it away. That was a little bit like Jesus when he thought of the thief on the cross, even though He, Himself, was suffering.

    “And, my precious one, you certainly are not stupid. We all make mistakes at times. Daddy and I are very proud of your good grades and accomplishments, and all the other special qualities and gifts that you have. Why, just look at this beautifully carved bread box that you made yourself and gave me for Mother’s day!

    “But my, –– you must be hungry! Would you like a glass of juice and a cookie to help you through until supper time? Then we can sit down and talk a little bit more about your feelings about what happened today. When Daddy comes home we can share it with him, too, and we can pray together about it at worship time. I can also share a story about the time when I was a little girl, and had a very embarrassing day, and how God helped me turn it around for good. But we will save that for this evening! Now here’s your juice and cookie, my dear one!”

  7. Use good words even in the case of boundary setting, and with children when there is need for discipline. Our words should draw out and affirm the best in people.God’s discipline is redemptive, and His boundary setting is for the protection of His own or His people’s blueprint. Satan constantly challenged Jesus’ blueprint, ie: “IF you are the son of God, make these stones into bread;” –– or jump off the pinnacle of the temple, or come down off the cross, etc. And Satan will challenge the blueprint of each child of God, trying to get them to either overreact and fight back in carnal ways, or to capitulate and give in to another’s ideas and pressure, in order to avoid controversy. Our task is to react as Jesus did, without controversy and attacking the other person, but with firm confidence in who we are in Christ.
  8. Example:
    “Dad, Mom, perhaps you had better sit down. I have something to tell you that you aren’t going to like. Last Saturday night after you both had gone to bed, I slipped out and took the car for a spin. I know I shouldn’t have done it, but the guys were teasing me, saying that I am such a goody-goody, tied to my Mom’s apron strings, and stuff like that. I’ve had my learner’s permit for a couple of months, now, and feel pretty sure of my driving, so I took the dare.I picked up John and Bret in front of Walmart, and they had a couple of cans of beer, and really whooped it up, laughing and making fun of my driving, and trying to get me to drink some, too. I didn’t, though, Mom. Really! I didn’t! But it made me afraid to be out like that, and so I turned the car around, asked them to get out, and came on home. But my conscience has been bothering me ever since, and I want to own up, and take the consequences. I know I did wrong, but I think I learned a lesson I shall never forget. I hope you can forgive me. I’ll try not to break your confidence in me again.”

    Inappropriate response:
    “Son, I’m utterly shocked! I thought we had raised you better than this. I’m certainly glad you didn’t wreck the car while you were out! Why, when I was your age I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking the car without my parent’s permission. You broke the law, too! You know you are not allowed to drive without a licensed driver in the car while you are using only a learner’s permit. I can’t believe you would do a thing like this! My trust in you is broken. You are going to have to prove yourself for a long time before I allow you to have a set of keys to the car again.What do you think, Mother? Should we take away all car privileges for six months? That seems like a light punishment to me, considering the gravity of the situation. I shudder to think what could have happened. If there had been a wreck, the insurance company would not even have covered the expenses, since he was breaking the law. I never dreamed that we had a budding criminal on our hands. Well, it will be a long time before I trust you again, Son. Now go up to your room, while your mother and I spend some time talking over this matter further.

    Appropriate response:
    “Son, I am so proud of you for owning up to the situation you just described. It took real courage and integrity to share this with your mother and me. Truthfully, I was not yet asleep when you left that night, and I heard the garage door go up. I looked out the window and saw you drive away, so I wakened Mother, and we got up and spent the time in prayer for you until you came home. I thought of calling the Police, but I decided to trust you to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in your heart, and get victory over the temptation to take the car. Mother and I rejoiced and praised the Lord when you returned, and after you went into your room, I checked the car to see that it was unharmed. Then we went back to sleep, knowing that our prayers for you were answered. However, I am going to respond now to your suggestion about consequences. It shows considerable maturity on your part to be willing to accept consequences. Of course, Mother and I forgive you for what you have done. Right, Mother? But as in all things in life, consequences are inevitable.I have been thinking and praying a lot about this since the night you took the car. Many things have come into my mind. But since hearing you tonight and seeing how responsible you are in coming to us, as well as the brave and mature decision you made to drop the boys off and come home, I believe the minimum amount of discipline is appropriate. What do you think, Mother? How about taking the car keys away for a month, with continuing privileges to drive while he is with one of us; then at the end of the month, we can have a family council and decide whether to extend the time further. Does that sound fair to you, Son?”

  9. Do not run beyond the other person’s comfort level and ability to assimilate what you are saying, even when you are trying to be kind and affirming, or when making efforts to move into deeper levels of friendship and sharing. Jesus was very respectful of other people’s boundaries, even when He would have liked to share more, or personally desired to bond more closely.That is why He said to His disciples, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” Jno. 16:12. At times like these, we may groan inwardly in our desire to be understood and accepted by someone else, but we must set self aside and not take away the right of the other person to be where they are in their ability to have an interactive relationship. At such times, Jesus’ example is so helpful, as is recorded in Philippians 2:4-7:“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…. who made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.”We can do this by meeting the need of the other person first, and trusting in God to meet our own needs in His appointed way. I assure you, we will receive a rich reward, and will not be disappointed in the eventual outcome.
  10. Example:
    Let’s suppose you have had a really bad day, and you can hardly wait for your spouse to get home so you can share your frustrations with him (or her, if the role is reversed). But as he walks in the door, you can see the tired lines and furrowed brow, and you sense that he has not had a good day, either. Here are two ways of responding to the situation.

    Inappropriate response:
    “Looks like you’ve had a bad day, Dear. You look tired.
    “You’ve got that right! I’ve had about all I can take.”
    “I know what you mean. My day was a mess, too. It started out bad right from the beginning when I got the mail and found out that a check had bounced and we were charged $34.00. It took me an hour and a half to trace it down. I discovered that they had made a mistake, so I called the bank and found out that it was a computer error, so they took it off. But by then I was 20 minutes late for my hair appointment.

    Fortunately they took me anyway, but it made me nervous. I hate to be late. That threw me late in picking up the kids, and the teacher was irritated by the time I got there, so she had spoken harshly to Johnny, and he was crying. By the time I got him calmed down, Wendy fell off the swing and cut her knee and started screaming. There was blood and dirt on her dress, so I had to go back in the school bathroom to clean her up and get a Band-Aid from the teacher, who by now was REALLY upset.“Anyway, we finally got out of there, and I got my shopping done. By the way, are you hungry?”
    “No. I just need some down time. I’ll be in my office. Tell the kids to be quiet. As I said, I’ve had about all I can take –– and then some!”

    Appropriate response:
    “Hi, Sweetheart! So glad you are home! You look a little tired. How about a tall glass of ice water or juice?”
    “I’ve had an exhausting day. That glass of juice sounds inviting. I’ll take grape if you have it. Two ice cubes will do.”
    “Here you are, Dear. Anything happen today that you would like to share?”
    “I appreciate your willingness to listen. Yes, something happened that I didn’t plan to tell you, but maybe it would help me just to talk about it. You know about that important financial deal that I have been working on for months? It seemed like a sure thing, and I was planning on the commission to pay off the addition we made on our house so we could lower our monthly payments. With prices getting so high now, I feel that we need to tighten our budget in order to keep up with our outgo.“Well, in the last few days it became apparent that my client was becoming less interested in our deal, and today the bomb hit, and he told me he had decided to go with another company. But that wasn’t the end of it. The boss called me in at the end of the day and told me he couldn’t give me the raise I was expecting because of the lost revenue from this account. I am so upset I feel like quitting and finding another company where they will be true to their word. I have worked hard and earned lots of money for them. This is just an excuse not to give me what I deserve. I don’t see how I can face going back tomorrow and working in a place where I am not appreciated and valued more than this!”

    “What a dreadful disappointment this is for you! I’m SO sorry, Dear. You have worked so hard on this account. I know you did your best. I hope you don’t think this is because you are not a good salesman. You have put in long hours and done your homework. Just remember, you have sold more this year than any of the other salesmen. I’m sure that’s because you are so conscientious and thorough. I’m very proud of you!

    “The reaction of your boss is hard to take, I know. It must make you feel unappreciated. Maybe he’ll reconsider. But even if he doesn’t, we will survive this setback. I will be happy to go over the budget with you to see where we can cut corners. You are a very good provider for our family, and I appreciate your faithfulness so much. I might even be able to help by picking up a part time job if need be. We’ll see it through together, and I’m sure the Lord will bless our efforts.”

    “What an encouragement you are to me, Jane. I was dreading having to break the news to you. I was afraid you would cry, or blame me somehow and see me as a failure. I am so lucky to have a wonderful wife like you. Some of the guys at work teased me, saying that my wife would get out the rolling pin. But I assured them that you are not like that. With your encouragement and support, I can face them all tomorrow. By the way. How was your day? I didn’t mean to monopolize the conversation.”

    “Oh, there were a few glitches, but God saw me through. It certainly was mild compared to what you experienced. Maybe I’ll tell you sometime, but right now I’m just so glad to be together with you for the evening. What do you think –– shall I call the children in for supper now? I have it warming in the oven!”

Well, perhaps this is enough on this subject for now. If it seems a little overdone, you might be surprised at how typical these conversations are in many homes –– especially the inappropriate comments. But we can all learn how to be more loving and caring and respectful of each other’s boundaries and needs. And in applying the golden rule for those around us, we will find that our own needs will be met, as well. It is the law of love, the law of heaven. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Lu. 6:37, 38.

By the way, if you can get hold of a “Ladies’ Home Journal” for May, ‘08, there is a wonderful article on pages 20-24 which scientifically supports everything I have been learning on the subject of happiness, and building positive relationships. The authors, Marci Shimoff with Carol Kline also have a book out called, Happy for No Reason, which I have not read, but sounds profitable. God is good to help people discover secrets in the human brain and body which support His Biblical principles. Here is a sample:

“The best way to keep relationships happy, healthy and supportive can be summed up in one word: appreciation. ‘One of the most important things a person can do to raise his or her happiness level is to acknowledge those around them,’ says Judith W. Umlas, author of The Power of Acknowledgment. ‘According to a recent Gallup Management Journal article, when someone is acknowledged, dopamine is released––a neurochemical that’s directly linked to being happy!’ When we demonstrate our appreciation for the support we receive from others, it reinforces that behavior and deepens our connection to them.” p. 24.

May God bless your journey toward learning the language of love!

Yours for loving relationships,