Do you affirm yourself? Do you affirm others? I ask these two questions because the power of self-talk can’t be denied. Positive affirmations can help remind you of your end goal or who you want to be. They can be repetitive assertions that get you through challenging times or change your attitude. Just as important as it is to positively affirm yourself, it is just as important to affirm others.
An affirmation is defined as “emotional support or encouragement.” It’s generally a word or phrase that serves as a catalyst for self-improvement. While you may have your own specific affirmations that play on autopilot in your mind, what about how you verbally affirm others? How do you support and encourage someone else so they will believe in themselves enough to experience success and gain a sense of self-worth?
It’s a balancing act. To be fruitful, you have to not only affirm them in the form of giving them hope and belief, but you must also build confidence. When you affirm someone, they feel better about themselves and their actions. After this happens several times, your belief in them begins to transfer to a belief in themselves. Congratulations! You have successfully passed the torch of affirmation and graduated to confirmation. You confirm that their behavior, actions, words, or choices are deemed worthy of your praise and approval.
I want to share three affirmations that have made all the difference in how I approach two of the most important roles I have – that of a father and that of a role model. Working with college students can be a challenge. While some have found their confidence, others are seeking who they are. And some are over-confident, to the point of arrogance. Where ever they land on the spectrum of confidence or belief, it’s important they hear one of more of these simple phrases:
“I believe in you”
This phrase of affirmation shows the recipient you not only acknowledge them, but are of the opinion what they are doing is going to lead to the realization of accomplishment. It boosts confidence and let’s them know you are supportive.
“I’m proud of you”
This is an affirmational phrase of approval. It serves as an acknowledgement that what they have done meets your general approval.
“I appreciate you”
This goes one step further than being “proud.” It is a statement beyond approval. It says you care.
There is one more important phrase that goes along with these three affirmations. I always use the phrase “thank you.” Find a way to thank someone so they know you recognize them in a way that is special to them.
Affirming others is an important tool to building relationships and leadership. To lead, love, and serve, you must humble yourself to the point where you seek genuine interest in others.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
– Philippians 2:3