What we think and say becomes our habit. When our self-talk is negative, we have a tendency to communicate with others in a negative way. This is particularly true with our children. So often when we want our children to change, we attempt to influence them by using negative communications rather than positive ones that would actually prompt them to want to do what we would like. Even the worst salesperson knows enough not to make the customer angry. Yet, because we allow our emotions to direct us, we often ignore this commonsense approach and send negative messages. You can easily tell if your communications are sending negative messages if what you say blames, complains, criticizes, nags, punishes, or threatens.
Negativity can have long-lasting repercussions. One or two mean words from an adult can stay with a child forever. Think about such scars from your childhood that may still be with you. The adults who spoke negatively to you almost certainly had no idea of the damage they were inflicting. As parents, we must always be conscious of the power we wield.
Positive communications elevate the spirit; they offer encouragement and support. They send the message that the other person is capable of handling challenges. Positivity creates hope and prompts feelings of being valued, supported, and respected. Communicating in positive terms triggers enthusiasm, capability, pride, dependability, and responsibility—none of which are triggered by negativity. Because positive communications do not trigger defensiveness in the other person, they are more effective in influencing a person to want to change. Therefore, if you want to influence others to do what you would like, become conscious of phrasing your communications in positive terms.
See if you can visualize this scenario:
You were five years old. It was a beautiful spring day. The training wheels had been removed. Your parent steadied the bicycle just a bit as you started to pedal away, and then you were let go. Your parent was running beside the bike, but you were on your own. The wind was in your face; a huge smile developed. You were happy but still nervous. Something inside seemed to remind you that disaster might strike at any time. And then you heard these words, “Keep going! You’re doing it!” They were magical words of encouragement. “Don’t worry! I’m here if you need me.” Your confidence grew and the negative thoughts seemed to melt away.
There is no empowerment more effective than self-empowerment. Because being positive is so enabling, it makes sense to stop all thoughts and communications that are negative. Reflecting on the positive can immediately turn around a negative emotion. Continually ask yourself: “How can I communicate this message in a positive way?”