Sometimes We Need Just Need to Hear, "You're Doing Great"

Sometimes We Need Just Need to Hear, "You're Doing Great"
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

You’re doing great. It doesn’t matter what people say or what they think. Don’t worry about what people think of the decisions you’ve made and what you’ve left behind.

You have your own way of doing things, your own style, passion, and charisma. Everything will be fine. Though you may have doubts sometimes, understand that life is a process. As long as you have full confidence in who you are, you’ll have peace.

A lot of times we just need (and want) to hear someone say that to us. Needing it doesn’t mean that we need other people to validate us. Nor does it mean that we doubt ourselves.

But sometimes recognition and positive reinforcement at the right moment are like a wonderful emotional boost. It’s like a breath of fresh air for our spirits.

Think about kids. The phrase, “you’re doing great,” is so important for them to hear. A compliment is more than simple positive reinforcement or pure psychological conditioning.

It is a way of encouraging the child to keep going and keep trying, boosting their self-esteem, confidence, and sense of security. At the same time, did you notice these words focus on the process, not the results?

“If you need a hand, remember that I have two.”

-Saint Augustine-

Just like during childhood, adults need positive reinforcement as well. Every once in a while we need to feel recognized and supported.

For example, parents need it as they do the complex, mundane work of raising their children. We need it when we decide to make a change in our lives. We appreciate when someone in our social circle tells us we’re making the right decision, a brave decision…

going on a trip

Different types of personal support that we can find every day

Most of us put on our adult shoes now. They fit perfectly and we feel lighter than ever. The soles are worn from the journey, though, and from the rocks and puddles we’ve had to navigate along the way.

Nevertheless, we have many experiences yet to live, and there is one thing that still affects us in so many ways.

We’re talking about the support, consideration, and closeness we get from our loved ones. Sure, we might say that “it doesn’t affect us”.

Maybe we think we’ve reached a point in our personal growth where the negative things people say to us are like stale air in a room without ventilation. We just open the window, let it out, and we can breathe again.

However, as much as we’d like to believe we’re immune, we aren’t. What our parents or siblings say to us can hurt. We care about comments from our friends and partners.

That’s why hearing “you’re doing great” can be so very powerful. It reaffirms that the relationship is strong. Let’s take a closer look…

People who help, people who enable, and people who hinder

Niall Bolger is a researcher in the Psychology Department at Columbia University. He specializes in research about personal relationships and their impact on psychological well-being.

In one of his papers, he showed that the way that people in our closest social circles provide support or help can be divided into three categories:

  • People who enable. We should be clear that he who “enables” isn’t supporting. An enabler tells us how to do things according to his wishes, believes, or values. They may be friends, family members, or significant others. Rather than trying to understand our perspectives, desires, and choices, they want to “enable us” to fit into their way of seeing the world.
  • People who inhibit. Another type of interaction and bond is the person who claims to have our best interests at heart but also engages in behavior that gets in our way. This kind of person uses expressions like “you’re doing great, but remember that you messed up before so it’s likely you’ll do it again” or “believe me, I’m only telling you to break up with her because I love and appreciate you…”
  • People who help. Dr. Bolge, who headed up this study, identified a third type of relationship. He also considers it the most important of all of them. These are people who not only are able to say exactly the right thing when we need it most, but also provide “invisible support”. In other words, we don’t need to have the person physically near to know that we can count on their support, interest, and affection. 

The best support of all comes from those who let us be, and project a sense of security and constant encouragement.

a woman and flowers

You’re doing great because…

We know that verbal and emotional reinforcement from loved ones is useful in many situations. It helps us move forward, keep going.

However, we can’t forget that we need to encourage ourselves, validate ourselves, motivate ourselves, and support ourselves emotionally as well. Only then can we find the energy we need to face every day.

It might help to reflect on these phrases and internalize them:

  • You’re doing great because you’re living in harmony with your true self, your values, and your needsIt doesn’t matter if you go through tough times. Because that’s the price you pay for being true to yourself.
  • You’re doing great because every day you do something new and enriching. Every day is a small victory.
  • You’re doing great because you’ve left harmful things, people, and energy behind. You left it behind because it wasn’t contributing to your balance or joy.
  • You’re doing great because living is a bold act. You are setting yourself in motion, you aren’t stopping. Happiness is a process and you are on the right path, which is the path you chose.

Let’s put these into practice and focus on these types of positive thoughts. At the end of the day, it doesn’t cost anything, and you’ll get a lot in return. 

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.