The Power of Subtle Messages

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What's your Favorite Inspirational Message?

After six years in my bright, spacious office, I had received an offer I couldn't refuse—to join the incredible group of people at Partners in Resilience. I was thrilled. The only downside was that I would be moving into a far smaller office space in their suite on the edge of downtown Minneapolis.

Moving offices is hard, especially if you have too much furniture and not enough space. I manage to jettison some of the furniture and put away essentials in my desk. It's when I turned to my boxes of books that I started to feel overwhelmed. The room accommodates only one bookcase, so I needed to take a lot of books home. I sit down and start choosing my favorites and lining them up on the bottom shelf. A funny thing happens. As I read the familiar titles, I am struck by how calm I start to feel. As I notice I am breathing more slowly, a new thought occurs. "Wow! I would really like these books displayed more prominently, because there are some really good messages here"—messages of hope and inspiration my clients need.

Ready for a break, and wanting to see what the space looks like from a client's perspective, I sit on the couch. After another deep breath, I glance up and notice that the bookcase is out of clients' view. Then my eyes are drawn to a small, white storage cabinet directly across from the sofa. A light goes off: "That's where the best book titles need to be! In my clients' direct view!"

Springing into action, I place the following books on its top:

Thanks by Robert Emmons,

The Blessing of Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel,

Rising Strong by Brené Brown, and

Peter Shabad's Despair and the Return of Hope.

As I arrange these books, my feelings of being overwhelmed evaporate. I went from being upset from moving to feeling excited about new possibilities in a new setting. Just glancing at these book titles made settling in much easier. Clearly, simple, inspirational messages work.

So far not one client has commented on these books so artfully placed, and I suspect no one will. In fact, I'd rather they didn't. Better to be soothed by the feng shui of a carefully placed message without consciously noticing it.

My hope is that my clients are gently reminded to give thanks for the many good things in their lives. Perhaps Brené Brown's example will encourage them to find strength in vulnerability. Maybe The Blessing of Skinned Knee will remind them of the gifts they gained from adversity. As for me, I smile everytime I see those books. I'm sure glad I made this move.

TODAY'S CONVERSATION PROMPTS

Ask someone you care about:

   * What messages make you smile?
   * What are creative ways can you place those messages in your view throughout the day?

Also, see Full Heart Living pages 26 and 220 for more ideas about how to use positive messages.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Tom Glaser is the author of Full Heart Living: Conversations with the Happiest People I Know. A practicing psychologist and life coach, he lives in Minneapolis with his husband and son. When he isn't moving offices or out walking the dog, you'll find him hard at work on his second book, on restoring resilience after trauma. 

Resilience For Dessert
How to Resist the Urge to Act without Thinking
 

Comments 4

Guest - Kristy Sweetland on Thursday, 01 March 2018 13:37

Books are so important! Their energy is absolutely healing and my office is filled with my favorite inspirational, energizing titles too. Thank you for caring for your clients so much that you take the environment to heart. I have been in so many offices of well being that feel drab and lifeless...it makes a HUGE difference!

Books are so important! Their energy is absolutely healing and my office is filled with my favorite inspirational, energizing titles too. Thank you for caring for your clients so much that you take the environment to heart. I have been in so many offices of well being that feel drab and lifeless...it makes a HUGE difference!
Tom Glaser on Friday, 02 March 2018 08:47

Yes, Kristy Sweetland. I couldn’t agree more. The environment provides the container. With thoughtful attention, it contributes greatly to healing and well-being. I’d love to hear which book titles appear in your office!

Yes, Kristy Sweetland. I couldn’t agree more. The environment provides the container. With thoughtful attention, it contributes greatly to healing and well-being. I’d love to hear which book titles appear in your office!
Guest - Amanda St John on Friday, 18 May 2018 21:51

I love this thought so much! As a library supervisor I frequently play a support role for my staff and co-workers. Books on my shelf that make me feel good show that I am studied in my field, that I am interested in Yoga, and that I am dedicated to learning how to be the best leader I can be. "Resolving conflict" might not be calming, but then again... this is what some employees are seeking--solutions to interpersonal challenges. "The Courage to Teach" is one that I love. So are "Community: The Structure of Belonging," and "Health & Wellbeing: Yoga."

Courage. Community. Health & Wellbeing. (Yes!)

I've gone back and forth about keeping my books at work or at home, but you've persuaded me to continue sharing on purpose.

I love this thought so much! As a library supervisor I frequently play a support role for my staff and co-workers. Books on my shelf that make me feel good show that I am studied in my field, that I am interested in Yoga, and that I am dedicated to learning how to be the best leader I can be. "Resolving conflict" might not be calming, but then again... this is what some employees are seeking--solutions to interpersonal challenges. "The Courage to Teach" is one that I love. So are "Community: The Structure of Belonging," and "Health & Wellbeing: Yoga." Courage. Community. Health & Wellbeing. (Yes!) I've gone back and forth about keeping my books at work or at home, but you've persuaded me to continue sharing on purpose.
Tom Glaser on Saturday, 19 May 2018 12:36

Yes, Amanda. A thousand time yes to Courage, Community, and Health & Wellbeing!

Yes, Amanda. A thousand time yes to Courage, Community, and Health & Wellbeing!
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Monday, 17 December 2018