This is a reminder I use to tell myself on a daily basis. No, not that I was in the habit of going around and putting people down, but because it is a great reminder to be positive and make sure that people always feel better after talking with me. I would say this to myself everyday because I wanted to make sure I always made people feel better about what they were doing and leave them happier than when I found them.
Unfortunately, this was not always the case. Like many, I would unintentionally put people down. Not that I went around hurting people on purpose, but because it happens without us even knowing it. Do you do this? Perhaps you do this without even knowing it? Let’s look at a couple examples of how we can do this without knowing…
“You’ll never get ahead in life if you…”
This is the start of a typical sentence you’ll hear a parent say to their child when they want to motivate them. For example, “You’ll never get ahead in life if you sleep to noon every day.” I must admit that I’ve uttered words like this to my teenage children. Which is kind of a dumb thing to say because an overwhelmingly large percentage of teenagers sleep late every day. They feel like all the action happens at night, so it’s not as cool to go to bed early and get up early. Yeah, intentions are good behind our statement. We just want to motivate our kids, not put them down. But repeated statements like this can tend to have the opposite effect. We want our children to be confident and empowered, not feeling guilty about something they’re doing.
“Don’t do it like that. What are you thinking?”
When we find ourselves in a position of power, we tend to believe there’s only two ways of doing something…the wrong way and our way. It could be in an office environment where a co-worker who has less seniority than you makes a mistake, or it could be a friend or spouse who looks to you for guidance, but you tend to subconsciously use that power. When we make comments like this, not only are they arrogant, but they also rob people of their confidence. Yeah, what you’re saying may be right, but it can also be arrogant to insist on our way of doing things when there is more than one way to skin a cat.
We all want to be that positive, confident person that people can look up to and see as a role model, but we often fall short. Our passive-aggressive approach to interacting with people can come off as arrogant and leave them feeling down and out. We want to instill confidence in our friends and family. We want people to feel better and uplifted after having a conversation with us. We can do this if we simply remember to “lift people up, don’t put them down.” So the next time you see someone doing something that you don’t agree with, or ignorantly believe your way is the only way, perhaps a different approach can be taken. Try to understand what they’re doing and then also help them see another way. This is a win/win. And when we create these win/win scenarios, people can’t help but feel uplifted after talking with you. And guess what? You’ll feel better about yourself too!!!