If I asked you today: How do you usually respond to the positive events in your life or positive events reported to you by others, what would you say?
Would you know the answer right away or would you have to observe yourself for a couple of days?
We usually think that what’s most important is to support others in case of something negative happening. As a friend, partner or a spouse we want to be there for those we care about.
Both Dr. Martin Seligman as well as Shelly Gable, Professor of Psychology at UC Santa Barbara through their research confirmed – it is as important to offer support when a positive event happens.
How we respond to positive events can help us build stronger relationships, interact effectively with others, give encouraging feedback, experience more positive emotions, thrive, develop self-confidence, maintain enthusiasm and passion. This approach if practiced can become a habit that will benefit us in professional and personal life.
So what are the typical ways of responding?
For example, I share some great news with my friend – I have just been promoted.
Her possible responses could be
Passive-Destructive response – “It was raining all day today”.
Hmm… I received no acknowledgement, no words of support, absolutely no emotional expression. She changed topic and offered me nothing!
Active – Destructive response – “This job is going to be very stressful for you. You don’t want that in your life, do you? And will you have enough time for your family… Oh I don’t know…”.
There are clearly emotions in this statement – and they are all negative. Suddenly my great news has become a problem. In this case my friend’s good intentions became a weapon of destruction. When she said this she was probably also looking worried and shaking her head.
Passive – Constructive response – “That’s good news”.
Clearly not good enough to celebrate. There were no strong emotions involved, no positive body language. I received a recognition but in a way that is very passive.
So if those are not the ways to respond what is the desired one?
Active – Constructive response – “This is fantastic news! I know how much you wanted this job. Congratulations. You thoroughly deserve it! We have to go out this weekend and celebrate”.
Can you see/feel the difference? This type of response builds relationship and shows positive emotions. Her body language matched her words; she maintained eye contact with me, she laughed and hugged me. Now I can tell – she is very happy for me.
The great thing about the Active – Constructive response is that we can use it with ourselves. When have you last celebrated your recent successes? Did you celebrate your achievements 3, 5 or 10 years ago? …
No? What are you waiting for?
This February before you respond to someone else, practice with yourself. Celebrate (actively and constructively) every single success that you have achieved in your life (also the ones that you overlooked in the past).
We can hear what you’re saying… “If that’s the case this year is going to be one big party!”
We’re up for it. In 2013 Positive Success Group celebrates our 10 years anniversary.
We just can’t help but party this year!
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