On the eve of turning 57, I have been reflecting on one of the Asha values that has brought out in my team and communities all that is right, and good, and beautiful. It has multiplied their joy, stimulated them, quickened them, and whirled them into action!
The Asha value I am thinking of is that of Affirmation. When we recognise in others a commendable skill, personality trait, or action, it must be noticed and named. The practice of affirmation is life giving, bringing peace to a fearful heart, supply into want, health into sickness, solutions to problems. We blossom in ways that are wonderful to behold. Our strengths, capabilities, and talents are brought to life. We feel empowered, and our self esteem is strengthened.
When we affirm others, we demonstrate that we are on their side. They are then far more inclined to take our counsel to heart when we have some constructive criticism to offer down the road. We therefore earn the privilege of offering feedback that can help a person understand behaviours or actions that require change.
Behaviours that are rewarded and celebrated are also more likely to be repeated. When we are seen as people who look for the best in others, others feel safe in our company and like to be around us.
It is important that affirmation is specific and consistent. Affirmation in the presence of others where appropriate, is key. This means that we are giving public honour and respect for a person’s gifts and abilities.
Everyday I see the amazing effects of affirmation on the members of the Asha family penetrating so deeply that their entire attitude, behaviour and actions are affected. The way they experience events, and the emotional climate of their relationships, has completely changed.
Let us embrace affirmation as a value to be practised everyday, and remember that our affirmations can have a profound impact on the lives of others.
With all my good wishes and thanks for your kindness and generosity towards Asha.