“…Encourage one another daily…”
I think a lot about encouragement in my life. I am naturally tuned toward noticing and appreciating encouragement and my background in child and family studies was a propelling force in noticing and valuing encouragement (in children… But it seeped over to adults too!) As I’ve become more self aware, I’ve realized the power of a word to lift up or tear down. I’ve seen this power in my home, in my friendships and in my own heart.
I think most of us want to be a light and lift up our friends and our family. But why does this often seem so difficult? I think one reason is because in our culture- we’re trained to see through falsehood. Growing up many of us were told we were special and a unique snowflake… We could be anything we wanted to be! Then we grew up. We realized we don’t have the body to be a ballet dancer and aren’t good enough at science to be a doctor. People hurt us and we sometimes fade into the crowd. Although parents who say that are being loving and sweet, as we grow we feel like those things aren’t true. We get cynical and don’t want to hear grandiose comments like that. We don’t want to say them either.
And lucky for you, that’s not the best way to encourage people! Be real. Be specific if you want or be general. It doesn’t matter. Just be real about it. If you really appreciate when your husband does the dishes tell him. If you’re just trying to get him to do them more often, don’t. (I learned this one the hard way!) If getting a friend’s simple texts brightens your day tell her! If something your family member says helps you through a hard time, let them know.
Be creative with your encouragement and praise. It doesn’t always have to e with words. It can be with a card, flowers or a night out. If you appreciate something about someone let them know!