Sunday, May 31, 2009

The importance of affirming others

Lately, I've found myself noticing just how damaging a lack of sincere affirmation in people's attempts to keep their relationships healthy. I'm talking about any kind of relationship: romantic partnerships, friendships, co-worker relationships, professional encounters, etc.

Here are a couple of excerpts from a little article I found on affirmation not long ago:

We all need affirmation. We need to know that we are seen and appreciated, noticed and valued. An affirmation is a communication whereby one person recognizes what is sacred in another. Albert Schweitzer once described affirmation as a spiritual act. He was right. An affirmation is rainwater for the spirit. Affirmation nurtures the soul.

Affirmation is more than a compliment. It is deeper than that. Affirmation is an expression of gratitude. It's my way of thanking you for the gifts you bring to the world. It's my way of saying I recognize and am thankful for your contributions, your inner beauty, your kindness. Affirmation is not about judgment (as some compliments are). Affirmaton is about honest gratitude.

Affirmation is an art. It takes practice. Some people take to it naturally while others seem to need a little more time to develop this skill. The more you look for gifts in people, the easier it gets to see them. And the expression of affirmation becomes more graceful with experience. As you become more adept at affirmation, you will become more aware of its power.
Sincere affirmation is always right, even when a person does not know how to receive it. Sorry to say, many people go through life without hearing nearly enough affirmation.

--Robert J. Furey

I like that description: "rainwater for the spirit." I really do. Think about it for a while.

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