When was the last time someone complimented you on something you had done well, in their eyes? How important was it for you to hear those words? We often talk about speaking positively to children about their achievements and building up their self-esteem. In fact, I posted a TED talk on my Facebook page earlier this morning that discusses the importance of “You are…” statements to children eventually turning in to “I am…” statements. So, for example, if we say to a child “You are kind” the idea is that over time the more they hear these words they will internalise that and turn it around to “I am kind”. That’s what we want! We want children to develop a positive self-image. Sometimes, it’s also nice for us grown-ups to hear positive feedback as well.
I recall the feeling of elation when I heard one of my lecturers announce, no almost shout excitedly, to the entire lunch room he had just walked into, that one of my assignments on 20th century music was brilliant and exactly what he had been looking for. I was in my early twenties and it wasn’t so much that I had done the work well but someone thought enough of it to make such a fuss over it in front of so many people. I actually still have that assignment somewhere. I kept it as a reminder that maybe, just maybe,
I am smart enough.
I am good enough.
I am enough.
I believe that little moment in time certainly helped me complete my studies with a heightened sense of confidence.
The older we get, the more trials and challenges we tend to have experienced and the easier it is to think negatively about our abilities and that our goals aren’t actually possible. Sometimes a kind word is all we need to ‘get back on the horse’ and start to believe we are capable of fulfilling all that we desired as a kid.
I actually searched for my old lecturer online this morning. His name is Adrian Walters and it looks like he is now the Director of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. I intend to contact him and let him know the impact his comment had on me all those years ago.
How about you tag someone in the comments section of this post on my Facebook page and let them know publicly something you think they do well. Like I said, it’s not just kids that need to hear positive feedback. We are all human and value that sense of connection and appreciation.