When I taught 9th grade, I always checked the right answers on a test and made no mark on the wrong answers. I put the number of right answers at the top of the page with a smiley face, no matter how many or how few were right. It was a very successful teaching tool. Honestly noticing the good that my students had done allowed for success, courage and confidence. At first they became curious as to why the others weren’t marked. Being that they were honor’s English students, it didn’t take them long to catch-on! I encouraged my students to recognize themselves, as having done something right and to focus on doing more of that (as well as taking re-takes on their mis-takes). They did willingly and moved forward. We had good times!
When was the last time you “patted yourself on the back”? When did you last humbly, gratefully and honestly compliment yourself or celebrate something you did well, big or little? When did you last remind yourself of your core values and how you are kindly serving humanity in your home, your workplace and in the world? (More on core values soon.) When did you last protect yourself by not being with people who are critical or sarcastic? This is not always easy, as we can tend to discount our own good and the rudeness of others!
A friend told me just this week that if she were to compliment herself, she would feel like she had a “fat head”. She said, “To compliment myself, much less in writing, I’d feel that my ego had taken over, or, worse yet, I’d fear I was a narcissist.” We all know someone who fits one of those descriptions, and that is clearly not healthy. I’m not encouraging you to come from that place, but rather I’m inviting you to sincerely recognize when you have stood up for yourself, not put yourself in a position to be with people who manage to point out your faults and to recognize yourself for the good that you are. Healthy recognition of oneself results in healthy living.
Companies, organizations, churches, schools, etc. that practice active recognition are more likely to have high levels of productive engagement. Families that share compliments and practice saying, “Thank you” are happier families. The parents’ job is not to notice every wrong their child does, unless, of course, they want more wrong! You get what you focus on, and children become what you tell them they are! The same holds true of partners. My concern is that there are many who do not see the good, and therefore good is not being acknowledged. How sad! It seems far too easy to notice and point out and repeat what appears wrong. Stop! Did your mother ever tell you, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all”? At lease it’s a start!
There are times when people so lack self-love, self-appreciation and self-approval, that the need for outside approval increases tremendously. That can be a very lonely world! Don’t waste your time waiting for someone else to approve or compliment you. You must live your life in a way that you can celebrate your successful living and good choices every day. Satisfy yourself!
Recognition is the greatest need of a human being. Do you know how good it feels to compliment and encourage someone, to compliment and encourage yourself when others do not? It needs to be done deliberately in an immediate and appropriate way. Acknowledgement takes a willingness to be vulnerable and humble.
My invitation is to acknowledge (silently or in writing) something that you can celebrate about yourself each day. As you do that, you can give thanks for the opportunity to share your gifts, your skills, your kindness, your love and more. You will make wise choices that keep you far from those who cannot appreciate you, and I promise you, that when you do that, others will enter your life who do appreciate you! It feels so good to notice the good!
Although there are times to note a mis-take, don’t put your focus there. Rather, pleasantly offer the opportunity for a re-take!
Thank you for being one of my readers! I appreciate you! Thank you for sharing the good word!
Put a smiley face at the top of your page!
Smiling with You,
Karen Diehl, Editor