In Chapter 4, Dr. Chapman talks about gifts.
Gifts can be tangible but also gifts can come from the words we use with others.
In today’s world, it seems that we hear about so many messages that can cause pain and hurt; we will refer to those as disconfirming messages. They disconfirm or “put down” the receiver of the message. Let me give you some examples.
Aggressive messages are disconfirming as they express the need for the speaker to dominate another with physical or mental threat. The aggressive person wants their way and will do what they need to do to get it.
Interrupting messages disconfirm because they interrupt the thoughts of another. Often when a mid-message interruption occurs, the idea is communicated that the speaker is not important and their ideas are not worth listening to.
Impersonal responses occur when a person responds to a direct request with a vague reference to a general idea. Let me give you a dialogue example. One person says to another, “I have been having personal problems lately.” The responder says “Yes we all have personal problems. It is a sign of the times.” That kind of response says “I don’t want to talk to you about your personal problems.”
We can go on and on….
Let’s flip the coin over on the other side and talk about verbal gifts of confirmation. We can use confirmation at no cost to ourselves and confirmation really matters to others. Confirming messages say to the receiver of the message “you exist, you count and you are important”.
Can you listen to another person and have the attitude of acceptance and not judgement? Can you listen to another person and have the attitude of acceptance and not rejection? I was reading some responses to a question about being open with others that I posed to some college students this morning and the reason they did not want to be open with others is fear of judgement and fear of rejection. These are common concerns for all humans who are in situations where they could share. They would rather not share than face the fear of judgment and rejection.
What would it cost you to recognize the person who is talking to you? Give the other person positive head nods, good direct eye contact and a positive “uh huh” from time to time. Act like you are processing their messages. Let them know this by your body language. This recognition is a gift they will appreciate.
What would it cost you to acknowledge the ideas and feelings of another? You don’t have to agree with another person but ask questions about what they are saying. Reflect back to them what they are saying. That lets them know you are actively processing the content of what they are expressing. It means a lot to others to know you are considering the content of their messages.
What would it cost you to endorse the ideas and feelings of another? I am amazed at people who agree with others but they don’t tell the other person that they do. Why? This level of confirmation is the most important because you are taking another person’s ideas and you are saying “You are right.” This really makes another person feel valued and it is a wonderful gift. People like to have their ideas endorsed. Even if you don’t agree 100% with what a person has said or done, can you accept what they have said or done? For instance a friend may have had an angry outburst and you don’t appreciate it but can you say, “I understand why you are so angry.” This shows a degree of empathy even though you wish they had not shown such public anger.
When Dr. Chapman talks about God’s gifts, they are spiritual in nature and important but vague [wisdom, faith, healing, prophecy]. When Dr. Chapman talks about our giving gifts, his examples are often tangible.
What about giving the gift of confirmation?
We love it that God values us. Consider passing that on to people that you encounter.
They will really appreciate your efforts.