Do you remember when we used to complement each other routinely? A new haircut or sweater would result in positive comments. A positive change in lifestyle, attitude, or situation would be met with reinforcing praise. In our harassment-conscious and politically correct society, we have seemed to cease finding and praising each other’s strengths and positive choices. Mainstream media sells advertising by sensationalizing bad news and criticism. Reality shows tend to show the bad sides of those they feature. In the workplace, there are exponentially more means for finding fault that for recognizing success. Layoffs often have nothing to do with job performance. Let’s stop the negativity!
Whether it be through “random acts of kindness, ” social media, peer coaching, or just being a good friend, people are finding that they do not have to tear another down to build themselves up. Even amidst concerns (and overblown news stories) about privacy, people are sharing more about themselves to strangers than ever before.
When you tweet, post, or blog that you went for a walk, and people respond with support and praise, you are more likely to walk again soon. Behavior change, work performance, and stress reduction are all enhanced by finding and using a network of people with the same goals. Illness and gossip can easily spread, but so can wellness, teamwork, support, and good feelings.
We all need to be successful in something. When that something is not your job or education (that you do all day, five days per week), then find something else. Even small successes can make the difference in a bad day. When those you care about are praising you, your bad manager or teacher has much less of an effect. By focusing on the positive you also leave yourself open for opportunities to change your situation.
Begin by catching someone doing well, and praising them. Especially if it is obvious that person put significant effort into it, they will appreciate your kindness. If you are trying to build a business or personal relationship with someone, find something they do that is of particular value to you, and let them know. You will soon discover that positive feelings are being reflected back on you.