This week, Imagine Hope is discussing the different types of messages we give to others in our communication-- termed "Garbage Messages" or "Flower Messages". In review, garbage messages are negative and hurtful or demeaning, while flower messages are those that help us feel better about ourselves and sound more uplifting and positive. As you read through this week's blog, keep in mind some of these questions: What are some of the rules and messages you brought from the family you lived in? How many of them made you feel an increased value about yourself and how many of them made you feel bad about yourself? Chances are, if you had garbage messages or flower messages in your family system as a child, you are likely to have them as an adult. Here are some more flower messages:
- It's a pleasure to work with you. This is a great one for those you appreciate at work. One of the things I noticed at various businesses in this area is when you say "Thank you", they respond with "my pleasure" rather than "your welcome". Sometimes, our words of affirmation get so automatic, we respond without really putting much thought into what we are saying. This flower message conveys appreciation on a deeper level.
- I like you just the way you are. Even though this sounds a little like a song from the 60's, it is a great way to tell someone (especially your spouse!) that you love them for ALL of them... even their faults!
- It's okay to have a lot of feelings. Many of us grew up in homes where certain feelings were "off limits", even if this rule was unspoken. Perhaps it was frowned upon to be "emotional" at all. As adults, that can make it difficult to feel secure in letting others see your feelings without feeling shame. This flower message helps us convey to others that we appreciate and respect their feelings and want to hear how they feel.
- Sometimes tears are refreshing. Each week I hear client's use the words "I'm sorry" or "sorry" after they shed tears in my office.... and this is a flower message I use (or "you never have to apologize for your tears... they are there for a reason!"). Sometimes tears ARE refreshing. Especially if they have been pent up for a long time. Crying is healthy and necessary sometimes!
- I'm sorry. You are right. This one is a HUGE one for many couples who get into power struggles. Somehow, in relationships we mistake saying "I'm sorry, you are right", for telling the other person that we are "bad" or "inadequate". Saying "I'm sorry, you are right (when the other person truly is right) doesn't mean you are "bad" or "less than". If you are genuinely and sincerely wrong, let the other person know! Not only is this considerate, but it shows humility and grace, as well. We can't expect others to be humble if we can't genuinely apologize for our own wrongdoing.
- I'm happy when I'm with you. Who doesn't like to hear that we make another person happy? If all we hear is the negative and critical things we bring to a relationship, after awhile, we begin to wonder why that person wants to be with us at all! This flower message is usually present early on in our relationships, but over time we forget to tell our partner. Remember how it felt when you first started dating and your partner let you know how much they enjoyed spending time with you? Even telling your spouse this can help you start to change your frame of mind to something more positive.
Thank you for reading this week's blog-- we are so happy and appreciative that you joined us and took the time from your day to read our messages. We like you just the way you are! :)
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.