Do you know what it means to make a "full stop" when complimenting someone? During a recent family group we were discussing communication between family members and how, oftentimes, the ultimate message we are trying to convey seems to get lost because our thoughts become run on sentences.
During the discussion of complimenting, some family members commented how they often made it a point to say positive comments to their children. Yet even with these efforts, for some reason their children only seem to remember the negative. We asked for an example of a compliment that was paid to their children and the compliment went as follows: "You are so gentle and kind but I wish you would listen more." We pointed out the add-on to the compliment and asked the parent to try again with their compliment. Surprisingly, it took 4 attempts to get the participants to make a full stop: A stop after stating the positive comment. A stop before offering suggestions for improvement. A stop to keep their brain from racing to qualify their compliment. A stop to simply allow the positive statement to exist.
How often do we have something positive to say to someone but end up letting it get lost as we try to, instead, point out what could be better? Do we take the time to allow a positive comment to be heard, and felt, by the person we are commending? How often do we muddy positive thoughts and intentions with our complaints about what we would prefer to see?
In a life where instant gratification is the norm it makes sense that we want to say as much as we can as quickly as possible... everything is happening so fast that we need to say it before we forget! But what happens when so much information is being put in to one small sentence? What ends up getting lost? What part of the sentence is forgotten so another portion can remain in our minds?
Compliments and recognition are vital in a relationship and those who love us put higher value when these compliments come from us. It's so easy to break something down yet so difficult to build something up. A building takes months/years to build yet a day or two to break down. The same is true for a person. Building them up with full stops are vital to let someone know that unconditionally they are valued. Without need for anything else, they are loved, cherished, and hold potential.
The failure to fully stop is not only something that is experienced in families but also can be seen in business and personal relationships, as well. Do you have friends who fail to "full stop" or do you have a co-worker who just can't seem to celebrate the happy accomplishments at work? How does their inability to fully stop affect their every day lives?
How often do you provide words of kindness? And when you do, do you take a "full stop"?
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