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December 30, 2021

"What's strong with you?"

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Something that people often say to each other in a critical and derogatory sense is “What’s wrong with you?” When someone sees, does, or thinks something different, people judge it and attribute blame or shame to feel better about their own beliefs. At the end of the day, the way people interact and view others externally is simply a projection of their internal state.

What I propose, which was featured in a recent advertising campaign by FitBit, is adding one sound and completely changing the meaning of this critical expression. Ask instead - “What’s strong with you?” Because yes, people will always see things differently, but that doesn’t make it bad. That’s their perspective. People can be nasty, and judgmental, and critical. Their opinions can be hurtful. But just because they tell you how they feel doesn’t make them right. There’s an expression “One man’s trash can be another man’s treasure”, which demonstrates how what others view as weaknesses can also be viewed as a strength.

So that’s the opportunity here. Instead of overvaluing what others think of you, and thinking down on yourself based on what they believe to be the case about you, choose to control your self-talk so that it’s a more empowering narrative. Get curious about the different ways you could relate with the same set of facts, and give a louder voice to the message that best supports the person you believe yourself to be.

“What’s wrong with you?” A lot of things, and that’s the best part, because it actually illuminates where I see things differently, which is my greatest strength. So I choose to say, “What’s strong with you?”

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