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Where is Positive Affirmation?

Is it me or is the act of positive affirmation a lost item? It seems when I look around all I hear and see is “no no no” and “you did this wrong” and “you suck at that”. At work, in relationships, all around I see a lot of that and not too much of “you’ve done well, good job”. It’s SUCH a simple thing to do, yet I don’t see it nearly enough. No wonder people are so grumpy, have low self-esteem, and are simply not confident about anything they have to do. To me, it just seems to make sense to let someone know if they’ve done something that’s made you smile or is helpful to you. Let’s not take these things for granted. If someone has done something right, let them know. And it’s not just to peers or those under you (“under” being children, subordinates at work, etc). Just the other day I ended up thanking my team leads for all the work they’ve done teaching me things. Not only that, I ended up telling their manager (my ultimate boss) that I appreciated the help these two people provided for me. It’s an easy thing to do and if people deserve recognition, give it to them. No more of this strange act of only saying something if something went wrong.

As I talk about positive affirmation, let’s not confuse this with the useless and sickening act of over-fluffing every single thing someone does. It bothers me when I see parents running around telling their kids just how great they are when they should be doing these things anyway. “Oh Johny, you’re such a good boy for not kicking the dog!” What??? He shouldn’t be kicking the dog in the first place. “You’re so good for not drawing on the wall!”. You’re 11!!! You should know better!

Despite these overly-sweet proddings, I still think we need to say “hey buddy, good job” more often. When’s the last time you thanked someone for helping you out or making you smile? Probably not recent enough. Yet when’s the last time you complained about something? Yup…that’s what I thought.

It’s an easy thing to do. Feedback is good, both bad and good. We know when we did wrong but it certainly helps to know when we’ve done right. It builds the confidence we need to succeed at our job or to know we’re appreciated by that friend/family member/coworker. It also puts a smile on their face. Here’s to making the world a better place and celebrating the good that is out there.