We did an exercise in the group last week which we have not done for a while whereby each group member will write down positive qualities and skills that they see in each of the others. This is an exercise that from the outset requires trust amongst the group that the relationships are connected enough for this to feel ok. People were very genuine and truly able to express what they thought about each other. People then read out their list of strengths if they felt comfortable to do so. This can feel like a strange thing to do in a culture where saying positive things about yourself can sometimes be seen quite negatively as ‘blowing your own trumpet’. However, people’s experience of this was that it was actually moving and encouraging, although for some it was quite difficult to hear or accept positive words, but even then there was still somethings uplifting it was for them. Group members who have done this before have kept the lists of their strengths, and at times have found it really helpful when they have been having a bad day, or are hearing a critical voice, whether that is their own, or somebody elses, to be reminded that these are their strengths and good qualities. Somehow seeing positive feedback written down in black and white can feel easier to believe than relying on our thought processes which can often turn to negative and dismissing the positive
People also found that it was really nice to be able to say how they felt, because again it is a bit alien in our culture so say super nice things to each other! One comment in this session was that ‘I have never known a group where people are so genuinely encouraging of each others successes’.