Become a cheerleader for life: Promote goodness

Fred Cavaiani

We all enjoy being with people who don’t criticize us. We respect people who accept us as we are without trying to change us or make us feel inferior. Close friends are a blessing. They look for the good in us and let us know what they like about us. To be with another person who says good things about us helps us become our best selves. To be with another person who keeps finding fault in us creates a painful feeling within us. We want to run in the opposite direction. And if we are not mature enough we will become angry and resentful.

Community is formed through trust and affirmation. Enemies are created through criticism and belittling. Friends who see the good in each other enjoy being together. Married couples who have a positive relationship consistently praise each other and see goodness in each other. Couples who live in misery propose negative attitudes and consistently see the glass of life as half empty, never half full. We have all met negative people. They are the most insecure people on the planet. Their self-worth comes from putting down other people. The problem is always outside of them. Have you ever been with a person who keeps talking about other people? What is it like when you join with others in condemning and criticizing the rest of the world? You unite in having an enemy outside of yourself but you do not unite in having something positive going on between you.

Everyone would like a personal cheerleader. Most sport teams have cheerleaders. Their purpose is to have the audience see the goodness in their team and shout positive encouragement to their team. A good father and mother consistently say loving and encouraging words to their children. They also say loving and encouraging words to each other, their friends and acquaintances. To be around a couple like this is always a joy. It is an experience of love and encouragement. Families like this make the world a joyful and loving place to be.

In the past seven years I have gone to Europe twice. One journey was through France and Spain. The other journey was through Italy. There were led by the same man, Fr. Bernie Owens S.J. Each trip had about 24 people. He led us in a positive and affirming manner. The people on these two glorious trips seemed to be filled with optimism, affirmation and genuine care for one another. It started with Bernie who was loving and affirming toward all of us. The positive influence of this one man created an atmosphere of love and affirmation. The man he had chosen to be our guide, Giorgio, was also so caring, upbeat and affirming.

As I reflect back on these two glorious journeys I begin to realize that what the world needs most are leaders who are positive, caring, affirming and loving towards all. It brings out the best in everyone and helps everyone to look for goodness in life. To have 24 people travel together for two weeks and all get along is like a miracle. But it all started with the leaders of these two journeys.

It is a simple fact that love and affirmation brings out the best in people. Leaders of good companies are affirming and motivating. Leaders of great countries are affirming and motivating. They look for the good in people and do not need to condemn those who see things differently.

Marriages need couples to be cheerleaders for each other. Friendships are based on this. One of the best cheerleaders in the world was Mother Teresa. She saw much goodness in the broken, poor and lonely. Another great cheerleader for the world is Pope Francis. He keeps looking for the good in people and sees religion as a way of promoting love and goodness, not rules, regulations and condemnations.

When a couple bases their relationship on fear and suspicion of each other, tension in the home becomes prevalent. Peace and hope disappear. If I look for the darkness in people, countries and places, I will never see the light that is actually present. Darkness is never overcome by more darkness it is overcome by loving light. When I treat my spouse, my friends and my enemies with a loving light of encouragement and consistency I create goodness. Negativity and darkness cannot overcome goodness and light. Goodness and light always exposes negativity, narcissism, and noxious behavior.

I have a solution for all problems in life. You have a solution for all problems in life. Love, Light and affirmation will always overcome darkness, negativity, and selfishness. Love, Light and Affirmation comes from a willingness to let go of what imprisons us and a willingness to let the Love and Goodness of God become a part of us. This is always based on love and kindness toward all and a willingness to sit quietly with God and listen attentively. It is easy to see but often it is so difficult to take time to put into practice.

Maybe we all need to find leaders who exemplify the best of life: Love towards all, Affirmation towards all, Kindness towards all, and a deep relationship with God. People who believe this and leaders who believe this will always give us a calm and inner hope and peace. If they don’t then we need to disarm them by being loving, kind and affirming and very prayerful and quiet with God. We then light up the darkness with LIGHT. Become a positive cheerleader of a loving and affirming life.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage and family therapist and psychotherapist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Medical Center. Cavaiani conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. He is also on staff at Capuchin Retreat Center in Washington, Mich. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@ and his website is