Seldom is there a person who does not long to be seen, heard and acknowledged. Yet, many people feel unseen, unheard, unacknowledged and neglected. In my years of facilitating parent education, family counseling, marriage counseling, group counseling and individual counseling, and speaking to thousands, I have noticed that people repeatedly light up at the simplest statement of appreciation. Haven’t you had a moment, hour or day that you desired recognition?
Years ago I learned a self-esteem boosting question. I apologize for not remembering the source. It is empowering for any close relationship. Use it with friends at work. Use it with friends outside of work. Use it with your partner, your children or your grandchildren.
- Patricia: “Les, please guess. Why do you think I think you are a wonderful husband?”
Les: “I provide a good income for our family.”
- Patricia: “That is true but that is not what I was thinking. Please guess again.”
Les: “Because I do many tasks around the house to keep us comfortable.”
- Patricia: “That is true but that is not what I was thinking. Please guess one last time.”
Les: “Because I help you out with your business and your computer challenges.”
- Patricia: “That is true but that is not what I was thinking. I was thinking of how I fell in love with your sea blue eyes, your soft hands and your gentle voice . . . and I still love them.”
Notice how Les received seven affirmations, yes seven! Three times Les stated what he valued and believed that positively contributes to our relationship. I agreed three times and added an affirmation at the end, like a cherry on top.
- Jane: “Alice, I want to give you a special appreciation and do it through an interesting question. Will you please do this with me? Just make up the answer if you don’t know the answer. The question is, ‘Why do you think I think you are a wonderful co-worker?” Alice: “Because I share my short cuts with you.”
- Jane: “That is true but that is not what I was thinking. Please guess again.”
Alice: “Because I helped out the day you were feeling sick.”
- Jane: “That is true but that’s not what I was thinking. Please guess one last time.”
Alice: “Because I let you know about the process getting a bonus.”
- Jane: “That is true but that’s not what I was thinking. I was thinking of the number of times I have struggled, cried and you have listened with acceptance and care. You are a supportive friend who has helped me get through the tough times and do a better job.”
With whom might you ask this self-esteem boosting question?