Catch Them When They’re Good

good job

Most people have a natural tendency to point out the faults in others before pointing out the good. For example, a child broke a dish because they weren’t paying attention, but then they took the time to clean up every last piece of glass before going outside to play.

We tell them, “Thank you for cleaning it all up,Β but that wouldn’t have happened had you been paying attention.” What did we just do? We praised them, which was good, but then immediately put them down.

I watched a very inspirational video on self confidence recently, which I would highly recommend to anyone. During the video the speaker, Dr. Ivan Joseph, said this “Ignore what people do wrong, but find all the things that they do right.”

It’s easy to say “do this, do that, fix this, fix that.” It’s not so easy to say, “Hey, what you did just now – that was great! Good job!” and leave it at that.

Dr. Joseph went on to say, “Catch them when they’re good. It sounds simple, but we forget about it.”

He was right!

While I watched the video, I asked myself how I handle those situations. I think I do a decent job at pointing out the good, but what if I’m wrong? So, I decided to analyze myself.

To my disappointment, I failed my own test. Although I’m quick at pointing out the good, it’s often followed with a “but.”Β  Then, to try fix that “but” and end on a positive note, I add another “but.” The last “but” however, means very little because I already ruined it with the first one.

This is going to take a lot more practice than I thought.

It’s been proven that if we praise the good in people, those things that we want to reinforce, that they are more likely to repeat that behavior. On the flip side, if we constantly point out their mistakes not only does it ruin their self confidence, but their behavior rarely improves. In fact, it often gets worse.

This idea of “catching them when they’re good” can be applied to every person in our life; children, spouse, co-workers, students, family, friends, etc. It can even be applied to ourselves.

I wouldn’t have known how often I fail at this had I not taken the time to analyze myself during specific situations. Therefore, I suggest that you give it a try too. Maybe you’re great at pointing out the good in others and ignoring their mistakes, or maybe you’re like me and only think that you are.

We need to work on building up people’s self confidence. How do we do that? We “catch them when they’re good.” It works. Try it.

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32 Responses to Catch Them When They’re Good

  1. Tina B. says:

    I agree that the bad is always caught and acknowledged first. I do try to make sure that I point out the good as well. The “but” that seemingly wants to come I’ve worked hard at stopping as well. I do this with everyone even myself. Loved the piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A.PROMPTreply says:

    I’m sure any self-evaluation I did would come up just the same as yours……I know I do that “But…” thing too. But…..(LOL) I think this is a great focus. I’m going to work on it!


  3. Yes finding the positive is so important and builds a strong self esteem


  4. April says:

    Yes, I agree. Giving ourselves much needed praise is important to me at this point. I can always find the good in others but I always feel myself lacking. I’m going to look more deeply to see what it is I’m saying to myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mewhoami says:

      We all deserve the same amount of praise that we so easily give to others. That sounds really good in writing, but it can be so hard to do. Like you though, I’m going to try to pay attention to what I tell myself and try to lift myself up more for the things I do right.

      Liked by 1 person

      • April says:

        I’m quite the expert in being kind and handing out advice when it comes to the treatment of others. I’m quite the opposite when it comes to how to treat ourselves. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  5. tric says:

    I think i’m quite good at this but with one of my children I am not quite as positive. This I will change. Thank you for the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mewhoami says:

      It’s great that you’re good at, and that you can also see where you may be falling short with one of them. That’s hard for some people to admit, but change only comes with admittance, right? πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. George says:

    Great idea. I think we’ve all been guilty of that at some point with children and even people in our lives both personally and professionally. Thanks for the insight.


  7. amommasview says:

    What a great post! I totally hear you! There’s often a “but” after my praises too… I need to work on it!


  8. Pingback: A Letter To Yourself | A Momma's View

  9. I ‘think’ I am good at this. But maybe I should ask my kids and friends and husband what they think. It’s a great philosophy. I’m going to try and be more aware of it.


  10. This is so great knowledge and we can often think that we don’t use the but, which we maybe do anyway.


  11. markbialczak says:

    Fantastic idea! Great post, Me Who. Thanks for sharing this theory of positivity. πŸ™‚


  12. Pingback: Blast From The Past – A Letter To Yourself | A Momma's View

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