Two Simple Words. That Make All of the Difference

I was catching up with a friend of twenty years recently, and she said the most profound statement, “The parent’s ‘you are’ becomes the child’s ‘I am.’”

Of course, I didn’t get it the first time.

“Can you say that again?” I said.

“The parent’s ‘you are’ becomes the child’s ‘I am.’ You know, as we grow up, our parent’s say, ‘You are this and that,’ and we just assume those traits because we believe them. They are our reality. We implicitly believe, ‘I am this and that.’ Our lives begin to tell the story of our parents’ beliefs and words toward us.”

“Ooooh, I hear ya. Tell me more.”

When the parent says, “You are never going to achieve this.” The child grows up and believes, “I am never going to achieve this.” Then, the child fulfills this belief by not achieving things. When the parent says, “You are crazy.” The child grows up to believe, “I am crazy.” Then, the child does crazy things.

As parent of four little people, this foundational process that I have intellectually known for years but had not pondered lately sank in deeply.

What am I telling my little people every day?

What “you are” words am I using?

Do I more naturally speak the negative or the positive?

How can I speak truthful, empowering, and encouraging words to them?

How can I use “you are” sentences to highlight their strengths and to empower them to overcome their weaknesses?

How can I speak life into my little people so they grow up to be thriving, vibrant adults?

We all have days when we are less than our best.  How healing it can be to have someone come alongside us and see us for more than we are at that moment!  It can be so life-giving to have a friend, a boss, a spouse, a parent, or a colleague to remind you of who you really are and of who they believe you will ultimately be.

Michael Hyatt—father of five and purpose & productivity extraordinaire—similarly encourages people in a wonderful blog to simply “lead with positive expectations.”  He recommends, “Don’t look for flaws in people. Look for strengths that you can help build up.”

This powerful concept of speaking words that become reality shapes our environments and our outcomes at work, in our communities, and in our homes.

Ask yourself what “you are” phrases you are using in your relationships.

Are your results in line with your words?

How can you use this powerful relationship hack to tweak the results you are getting?


Christine M. Wilson, Co-Founder of Think Time



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