A nudge, not a push

June 23, 2009

in Communication, Good Marriage

This morning, after posting what I did for Monday, I read an article entitled “For some people, optimistic thoughts can do more harm than good“. The bottom line is that a cleaver study showed that giving someone a positive message that was somewhat more positive than they saw themselves helped them feel better about themselves, but giving them a positive message that significantly differed from their self-image was actually harmful to how they felt about themselves.

So, telling her she is very friendly, when she is not very friendly, will very likely make her feel even less friendly than she already feels. Same with what you say about how she looks, her intelligence, her ability as a mother, and so on.  What’s more, if she decides you are lying to her, then everything you say becomes suspect.

So it seems my comment that you can “nudge her in the right direction” was spot on – we need to nudge, not shove. Figure out how she wrongly sees herself, and gently nudge her from that towards the truth.

1 comments
Eleutheros
Eleutheros

"So, telling her she is very friendly, when she is not very friendly, will very likely make her feel even less friendly than she already feels. Same with what you say about how she looks, her intelligence, her ability as a mother, and so on. What's more, if she decides you are lying to her, then everything you say becomes suspect." This is an excellent point. And one that supports why it's important for us to maintain trust, unviolated, by maintaining honesty right along with our own ability to accept honesty. "I'm sorry, honey, but no you don't look good in that" May be temporarily dissapointing to her but she will get that you love her enought to be honest with her and that supports trust. Another thing is to offer her proof, from her own behaviour, to show her something good in her that she may not have recognized. For instance I told my precious one that one of the things I loved about her was that she was 'cool'. She was incredulous and said, "No I'm not. What do you mean?" I was taken aback because it was so obvious to both me and my children that she was a really 'cool person' to be around. I told her, "Cool people are emulated. You know how to act in situations such that others are drawn to you and these others pick up on how you talk and act and behave and mimick you because they like what they see in you." And I then pointed out to her changes in speech patterns and certian small behaviours, attributed to her by her co-workers and observed, also, in my children. "So, you see, you are cool!" She was flabergasted but quite pleased to be brought to realize this about herself. And I loved being the one who could reveal this good thing about her, to her. So if you want to offer a good compliment to your bride make it an honest one and be prepared to back it up with proof from her own observed behaviour. It may be something good that she never saw in herself before. This is all part of being good, even as you were created to be.

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