Use Your Voice and Build Them Up

 In Weekly Forum Discussion

There is an old adage that my mother used to drill into me, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!”
I can still hear her voice when I think of how I use my words. I like to add to this, “Don’t stay quiet when you notice the positives in another person. Use your voice and build them up.”

Words are powerful. Those negative, internal monkey voices chatter words of defeat, meant to tear us down by pointing out all our faults and shortcomings. External words can build us up or tear us down. Too often the negative comments, snide remarks, or even what we think people are saying behind our backs are what we hear, remember, and focus on.

There are several studies that suggest relating to each other takes a five to one ratio of positive to negative to have a healthy, growing relationship. We need to hear encouraging words, positive feedback, and constructive suggestions to take our dreams to the next level both internally and externally.

For years I have chosen to offer these things to both my friends, and those I am acquainted with. Sending a written note, text, or email allows the person to reflect on those positive affirmations, and not rely on the monkey voices drowning out a spoken word heard days before. Throughout my years in Toastmasters I have heard many evaluations – feedback given to myself and to others. The points to improve are one person’s opinion and always surrounded by what they see we are already doing well, and constructive suggestions of how to improve for next time. All of this feedback has been invaluable to me, as well as an opportunity to practice giving this type of feedback to others.

Do I always remember to pass on the positives I see in another person? Do I remember to encourage them to continue working towards their dream? Do I offer constructive feedback, letting them know it is simply my opinion and do I sandwich it with positives? I try to use my outside voice. I feel great when I do, especially when I see their smile or hear about further successes they have encountered.

Speaking words of encouragement and positive feedback into the lives of others also means we need to build and keep a connection. I know we can comment on something we see and appreciate which in turn builds up the other person, but it still requires us to be present in that moment and then speak in our outside voice rather than stay silent and hope they know how well they did.

The comments on posts in this group are encouraging, sometimes with suggestions for improvement as well, but still done in a positive manner. It encourages me, challenges me to continue working towards my goals and dreams, and allows me glimpses into how others are doing life.

This week I had opportunity to send some emails and messages to people outside my close circle of friends and family that included words of encouragement and comments on positive efforts I see in what they are doing. It felt good to take the time to notice and then speak it out loud.

Words are powerful and those that build up another person encourage them to follow their dreams, and give helpful suggestions to take it to the next level of excellence should be shared as often as possible. Hearing from someone else, what they see we are doing well helps quiet those internal negative voices and allow us to begin to say those positives about ourselves. Some days I think my ratio might need to be seven or even 10 to one. Maybe it is that way for others as well, so I need to challenge myself to be aware of how I can speak the encouraging words into the lives of others.

Written by: Carol Harrison; Carol’s Corner

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