Encouragement is my favorite thing on this planet.
Don’t like it? You might want to stop reading this blog…okay, maybe not, but I can guarantee there will be other posts about encouragement in this blogs future…
Anyways, back on topic…Encouragement has always been a virtue that I’ve admired and tried to practice regularly. I think it’s Biblical, practical, logical, and I believe it makes a world of difference in people’s lives: whether it’s though vocal affirmation, an encouraging/thoughtful deed, or through written words, supporting someone is important.
However important I might think it is, I have found that many people avoid encouragement on a regular basis. Based on my experience, and observations, following are 4 reasons why I believe people fail to encourage and my suggestion for how to change that:
(1) It can be daunting. Walking up to someone you don’t know very well, congratulating him or her on a job well done, making yourself vulnerable. Yea, encouraging someone can definitely be overwhelming
My suggestion? Get out of your comfort zone and just do it! There’s really no other way, except to be silent and possibly miss an amazing opportunity to glorify our King. All you need to do is say a simple “good job” even that could make someone’s day.
(2) You don’t know what to say. Someone does something epic, and all you’ve got is “good job.” How inadequate is that?! I mean, they just bought a house, had a kid, graduated from college, they just __________(fill in blank)…Yea, I’ve got nothing to say that could really make a difference.
My suggestion? Never underestimate the power of the words “good job.” Seriously! But also, another way to say something is to share scripture with them. If they’ve accomplished something remarkable, i.e. had a child, then share with them a passage from the Bible. Or say that you know they’ll make great parents. Sometimes people appear together on the outside, but on the inside they are unsure as can be. Just by saying “you’re going to do great” could life their spirit to infinity and beyond.
(3) Lots of other people have already encouraged them, so I don’t have to. I mean, they did just graduate college, they’ve been shaking hands, giving hugs, taking pictures, all that good stuff…they don’t need me to congratulate them.
My suggestion? False. What if you, yes you, were the ONE congratulation they were looking forward to. Maybe your smile was the one they’d been waiting to see all day. You matter. Your presence matters. And I promise, the person you encourage, it’ll matter.
(4) I feel pretty down in the dumps myself. Why would you ever encourage someone if you feel like a failure? You’ll just come across bitter or upset, not encouraging.
My suggestion? The best way to feel less bummed is to take the focus off of you. By encouraging someone you’re not only focusing on him or her, but you’ll also be encouraged yourself. When we step outside of our own funk, and focus on someone or something else, we stop being a head case and are able to think clearer. It’s an all around win.
So there you have it, 4 ways to get over your encouragement anxieties and some suggestions of how to.
Have you ever been hesitant to encourage someone? Can you relate to any of these? Would you add or remove anything?