wavy pattern

why words matter so much 🤐



one simple way to develop your relationships

- Posted byHannah Miller

Hello everyone,

How are you today? If you’re new around here, you are very welcome. We are continuing our mini-series looking at aspects of wellbeing, considering how we are doing, and pondering on how we can make positive changes in our everyday life.

This week, it’s all about relationships

Our relationships deeply impact our wellbeing.

If I’m not right with someone, if I have left the house in the morning after a less than positive interaction with one of my kids, or I’ve received a text or an email that hurts (or sent one) – it impacts my whole day – whether I realise it or not. I learnt at a young age how to turn up and show up without giving away that I might be struggling with something. This has helped me get through many a tough day, but sometimes it just enables me to hide. Relationships matter.

I recently talked to two brilliant people, Tebo and Amy, about the impact of relationships on their lives – both the ones they have developed and the people who developed them.

They agreed with me that words matter – they have a deeper impact and far wider reaching consequences than I care to imagine.

The correct ratio for our comments, apparently, is 5:1. That is, we need a ratio of 5 positive comments for every negative one. But even the negative ones don’t need to be unkind or hurtful! Please, someone tell me, when did speaking with respect rather than malice mean someone was a ‘woke-y’? When is there ever a place for that, in our homes or in our workplaces? Now, I am a mother of three boys and I can tell you now that I am by no means perfect in this area – so this is not a preach. I pick faults, I choose the wrong battles, I verbalise the shortcomings. And I hate it. I know its power and I know I can do better.

Do you find that you are having enough positive interactions with those that you love, live alongside and work with? How intentional are you about speaking out positive praise? How do you handle a challenging conversation? How do you respond when provoked?

So here’s my suggestion for us all. Let’s get the ratio right. Let’s in fact get the ratio more like 10:1 for the next while because we are all so depleted in this area. Say out loud the good that you see and appreciate. In a specific and meaningful way. Yes, give the feedback on what might need to change (Marcus Buckingham suggests we start those conversations with ‘when you said that, I thought/felt … rather than ‘you are’ statements of pronunciation that just get everyone’s back up).

How can you use your words this week?

Let me know how you get on, and the impact you have on the culture around you. 


Hannah x

P.S. Marcus Buckingham (a Strengths hero of mine) did a brilliant podcast with Steven Bartlett where he talked about this feedback concept in more detail. You can find it at ‘a diary of a CEO’.

P.P.S If you want to explore more about wellbeing, head over here and take a look at my new course— Everyday Wellbeing: A How-To Guide for Real People.




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