OK, so maybe it’s not flattery that will get you everywhere but rather kindness or at a minimum, kind words. Now don’t get me wrong, flattery when sincerely given is not a bad place to start either. The problem comes when we use flattery as a weapon or manipulative tactic instead of having it come from the truth of the heart.
There are few things I enjoy more than hearing people speaking lovingly and kindly to one another. And I can assure you that as I have an opportunity to witness such sweet acts and hear such warm words, even though I am not a direct part of the conversation, it warms my heart and I find it to be just so wonderful. It inspires me to seek out opportunities to do the very same thing. And do it as quickly as possible.
You know the old saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Well I often wonder why more people don’t subscribe to the philosophy or actually put it into practice on a more regular basis. Doing it so often that it becomes a good habit and all that emerges from their lips are words of love, hope and encouragement.
Love, hope and encouragement are the essence of what kindness is really all about. And I will bet you can think of a time or conversation that you had where you wish the words would have been sweeter, and the outcome much better. Now I know some families who seem to believe that speaking harshly or even caustically to one another is their “norm” and just couldn’t even imagine trying to speak words that build each other up instead of tearing each other down.
Unfortunately there are other old sayings and philosophical beliefs that are so heavily ingrained in the hearts and minds of people that prohibit them from seeing the many benefits of speaking kindly and lovingly toward one another. Sayings like, “familiarity breeds contempt,” or “sometimes it just seems easier to say harsh things or hurt those closest to us.”
Break the cycle
Maybe it’s time to break that cycle! Maybe our resolution for 2014 could be to speak words of optimism, love, hope, and encouragement to one another. What would that sound like in your house, in your family, with your friends and even with your co-workers? Maybe it will feel a little uncomfortable and even unnatural at first. But here’s the deal — the more that we do it and do it consistently, the more the people around us will seem to change as well.
I would say that the majority of us long for words of hope and encouragement, and more importantly we respond favorably to such nurturing talk. I am not sure about you, but when I feel like the flattery is sincere or that someone is building me up through the use of kind and loving words, I feel better and everything in my life feels and seems better. My relationships are stronger, work is a better place to be and my family seems to thrive whenever we really focus on our word choices and sincerity and intent of what we say.
“I am so proud of you.” “Nice job today.” “You look beautiful.” “I am so glad you are in my life.” “Thanks for all you do for me or for us.” These are just examples, but I can promise you that when we take the focus off of the bad and we make a genuine effort to look for the good and verbalize those good feelings to everyone we encounter, it will make an enormous and positive difference in every one of our relationships.
Are you speaking words of love, hope and encouragement? Are you operating first and foremost from a position of kindness? I would love to hear all about it at gotonorton@ gmail.com, and when we all start practicing this habit even just a little bit more in 2014, each week really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.