by Allison Aboud Holzer

The black sheep of my family, perhaps I really was born a Yankee, foreign at birth in the land of Bluegrass. You see, I’ll be the first person to admit I’ve never really loved initiating interactions with strangers. Friendliness with strangers, while the norm in the South, is more of an anomaly up here… unless you own a dog (refer back to Bliss Tip #1)! Stella has, in fact, img_2827introduced me to many wonderful people I now call friends.

Last night, I attended a presentation by Fred Bader, Ph.D., a certified therapist and relationship counselor for 35 years who claims that love is the answer to our emotional ills. His philosophy, rooted in cognitive behavioral theory, asserts that by first thinking loving thoughts and choosing to act in loving ways, we actually increase our feelings of love towards others. Feelings of love don’t come first, thoughts and actions do!

 Using this definition, love transforms from a mystical, esoteric and elusive feeling to something concrete we can all create through our thoughts and actions. Moreover, love doesn’t need to just be created in romantic, familial or friendship arenas; it can actually be sparked by a benevolent act or a moment of connection with a stranger.

In the spirit of Bliss Tips, I challenge you to make a pledge to yourself. Pledge to intentionally and actively connect with a stranger at least once a day.

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