Have you ever stood in front of a mirror and said to yourself “I am loveable and capable”? It can be a powerful exercise, and one which can unveil attitudes and beliefs you have about yourself that may not be serving you all that well!
A lot has been written in the last few decades about feeling loved and lovable. Less has been written about feeling capable…. However, the desire to feel capable is probably as strong in its own way as the desire to love and be loved; all a part of the need to belong and to matter that is such a significant part of the human experience. The desire to be capable never diminishes throughout life; picture a toddler proclaiming his ability to be self reliant; “I wanna do it! Le’ me do it!” is a cry we have all heard from a two-year old. Teenagers are of course notorious for wanting to demonstrate that they are capable, and if you visit a nursing home, you frequently witness residents saying to the staff, “Let me do it myself!”
I like to remember to recognize and honor this, whether I am at home, or working with business managers or parents: With managers I love the idea of ‘catching employees doing something right’: – Managers and leaders tend to be very good at correcting and finding what’s wrong – it’s very easy to do! However a more productive and beneficial approach is to catch yourself doing just that, and for each time you do; find and communicate something right that employees have done – twice!
With parents, this can work pretty much the same way – the object of children’s activities is, after all, developing self-reliance! The environments we create for our children need to give them the experience of being capable and able to fix a problem if they have one!
For me at home – well, suffice it to say I can always do with a bit more focus on what we all are capable of (rather than what we are not!)
In all cases I do believe the most important thing is to be sincere, to be authentic – for nothing is worse than a false compliment, or a “Good job!” said with an insincere smile and a false chirpiness!
And at the end of the day, that brings it all back to oneself: how sincere can I be in front of a mirror saying “I am lovable and capable”? It’s definitely something to work on!