Yes! Yes! Yes!

The Power of Affirmative Communication        

Lessons in Communication from My One Year Old

Besides a few animal sounds and hi and bye, my daughter’s word of choice is, “Yes”. It’s often said repeatedly, “Yes, yes, yes.” While she applies it rather indiscriminately to many things, she does know a bit of the power behind YES. When she says, “Yes,” she often gets that which she is “yes-ing.” People have commented that, “No,” is more often the word little kids start using. I have been thinking about the power of “yes” versus “no,” and I am quite glad my daughter is favoring “yes” over “no.” (We’ll stay tuned, though, since things change!). Just imagining hearing, “No!” every time she says, “Yes,” leaves me with a headache!

There is power in affirmative communication. When we state or share what we want instead of what we don’t want, we get different results. There is also something more affirming in offering a positive option instead of simply saying no to something. These ideas apply to communicating with our kids, our partners, and even the customer service representative on the phone.

Here are two examples, “I would like you to put out the recycling tonight,” is different than, “Don’t forget to put out the recycling tonight.” It is easier to do something than to not do something, and like my daughter is learning, we often get that which we affirm. “Yes, you can play with your doll after lunch,” is different than, “No, you can’t play with your doll now.” Just as I like to hear my daughter say, “Yes,” she likes to hear me say what she can do instead of what she can’t do. These may seem like subtle differences but imagine how it all adds up over time.

Pay attention to your word choice with those you love.

Affirm what you want.

Offer a positive option.

Live and Love with Intention

Marriage and Family Therapy

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