The four best words you could ever say to someone

April 13, 2021

OK, yeah, you’re thinking “I love you” is only three words. Those are THE best words you could ever say to someone, agreed. But there’s something almost equally powerful in this phrase – “I see in you…”. When you utter those words and follow them up with the admirable characteristic you indeed see in your co-worker, or child, or friend, or student or client, magic happens. In many cases, transformation occurs right in front of your eyes, signaled by sudden smiles or unexpected tears.

What is the power behind those four little words – “I see in you…”? What happens when you go out of your way to identify, out loud, something you appreciate or are grateful for in another human being?

Here is the extraordinary impact of those words.

“I see in you…” diffuses shame and guilt.

Shame and guilt dog us, seemingly, all the time. Sometimes it comes through the perpetual, universal game of comparison. She’s prettier than me. He’s more successful. They’ve got it all together. I can’t keep up with his work ethic. We never will have what they have. Other times we’re harassed by others with criticism or belittling comments. And finally, many of us have set such ridiculously high standards for ourselves that self-shame is the world we constantly live in.

When someone speaks “I see in you…” into our lives, it slaps down guilt and shame and vaccinates us with a shot of hope and possibility.

“I see in you…” endears people to one another.

People who say those words to their friend or loved one indicate they are actually paying attention to them. They are in tune with them. They are interested in them. They want the best for them. They know them. They care.

If you call out the wonders of another human being, you will have a friend for life. It’s a sure-fire way to end loneliness and isolation in both of you.

“I see in you…” sets world change in motion.

As you identify a personal quality, innate gift or deep passion in another human being and point it out to them, it acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy, a prediction that causes itself to be true. For instance, watch what happens when you say to your friend “I see in you an empathy for others who are in pain, and I’ll bet people seek you out all the time when they need advice.” Your friend begins to pay more attention to the needs of the people around them and offer empathy and a listening ear.

You tipped the first domino that led to the world being changed just a bit more. And it is quite likely that your friend will pay it forward as they too begin to say “I see in you…” to the people in their own circle.

The process I take people through – the Calling Quilt – is essentially “I see in you…” on steroids. I help identify the catalysts from their life story that have made them what they are, with unique world changing passions and capacity. And I guide them to pinpoint the wonders of their personality and skill set that make them particularly vital to healing the broken places of our world. I say to them what every…single…human…being…longs to hear – “Can I tell you what I see in you…?”

And they sigh, and they cry, and they smile, and they leave with a newfound resolve. I love what I do!

But, my friend, you don’t have to have a method to invoke this kind of passion and joy from your people. You just need to pay attention, look them in the eye and say, “Here’s what I see in you…”


  1. Cally Abdelsayed

    This is a great one Dave! I needed to hear a new way to connect more with Kaitlyn as she is away at school and building a new “grown up” life for herself. It’s been tough knowing how to navigate a new relationship with her, as advice from mom isn’t always welcome.. maybe if I try this it will help! . This will be my next move! Thanks!!

    • Dave Rodriguez

      I do hope it helps, Cally! I’ve just seen it get right to the heart of others.Hope you guys are well!


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