Most of us are better at finding a problem or focusing on the negative rather than seeking out the positive and choosing to affirm and praise someone for a good deed or accomplishment. Even “positive thinkers’’ can fall into the trap. It’s our human nature creeping in and getting us to do what we don’t want to do even if we know it’s negative or destructive. So how do we change? The first step is to look inside. Think back to a time, it could be in the last hour, when someone said something negative or just gave you a look that sucked the life and energy right out of you. So now that you remember what that felt like, think about the impact your actions and words can have on others. Here’s some wisdom to aspire to “be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger”. Most of us do the exact opposite.
Consider the following suggestions for simple ways you can compliment and acknowledge someone for their hard work, creativity or for just being good to others.
1. Write a note
Write someone a note, or send a card, telling them how much you appreciate them, value their effort or hard work and praise them for something good that they did. (Note, I’m not suggesting an email or text. That’s easy and quick but doesn’t stand out. Be original and make a personal statement to show you care and made an effort to recognize their effort.)
2. Praise publically
Acknowledge the person’s effort, hard work or contribution in front of their peers. A short, positive and sincere statement can have that person walking on air for the next several days. It will also send the message that you are watching and noticing the good and not only swooping in and dumping on them when they do something wrong.
3. Bite your tongue (not literally)
Be aware of your emotional state and natural tendency to react or criticize. This will take work and effort. Stay alert and control your emotions and reactions at the first sign of anger or revenge. Instead of lashing out, listen. Instead of reacting, ask open ended questions to understand and consider their perspective.
Focus on making people feel good about themselves by using positive statements and they will most likely work harder, be better friends and / or clients. People may not remember exactly what you said but they will always remember the way you made them feel. You will also feel better about being a positive and uplifting person.