by Sister Margie Lavonis
When I took Psychology 101 in college I remember reading about a study done on children who were abandoned and rarely touched or spoken to. As I recall very few thrived and in many cases they became ill or died. Such studies proved the importance of physical intimacy and touch, especially in the early stages of life.
Just as physical touch is important, so, too, is affirmation. We all need to be affirmed to develop a good sense of self. Affirmation contributes to the building of a healthy self-esteem and genuine love of self. Others reflect our goodness to us. Without it we often fail to discover our value in life. No matter what our age or way of life, we need to be appreciated, for what we do and who we are.
And just as we need positive feedback from others, we, too, are called to practice the art of true affirmation. The art of affirmation is important. We must strive to get into the habit of seeing the good in each person who touches our lives and to point it out to them when the opportunity presents itself.
Affirmation is powerful. It can help to raise another’s self-esteem and give a person confidence in his or her gifts and talents. Affirming, positive people can transform negative environments. They bring good energy and joy to others.
However, the affirmations we give should always be genuine. Persons who constantly affirm others even when what they say is far from reality can cause more harm than good. When someone does this all the time, people begin to disregard his compliments and good words.
Genuine affirmation is an ingredient of love and a way to recognize the goodness of all of God’s creation. This week make a resolution that when you want to say something negative about another, stop and look for something good in that person to affirm. We must remember that God loves each person as much as he loves us.