Saturday, March 19, 2011

Encouraging One Another

Since I started my blog, I’ve been so amazed at the encouraging words I’ve received.  It’s a very unexpected and pleasant surprise because I wasn’t sure anyone would read it, much less find it interesting.  Encouraging people isn’t one of my strongest abilities.  It’s something I’ve worked on, but I fall short so often.  It doesn’t come naturally.  People, who always seem to know what to say to lift up others no matter the situation, amaze me.   If something horrible has happened, they know just the right words to comfort people and encourage them.  If something fabulous has happened, they know exactly what to say to make the person feel even better.  Because it is so natural to them, I believe they have the gift of encouragement.

If you’re like me, it’s possible to learn how to be more encouraging, but it may never feel natural. Still, we’re told we should encourage one another.  “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1Thessalonians 5:11)

In the business world, we’d call encouragement giving positive feedback.  I believe the principles for feedback in the world of work can be applied in any area of life.  So, if you’re like me, and don’t have the gift of encouragement, see if this will work for you.  For feedback to be meaningful it needs to:
  • Be given immediately
  • Be sincere
  • Be specific in nature
  • Express how it’s affected you
For example, to everyone who has commented positively about my blog I want to say: Over the last week, your kind words about my blog have really encouraged me.  Thank you for letting me know you like it.  I really appreciate it.

Practicing helps, and it has been my experience people appreciate the attempts you make to be encouraging even if you don't always say the right thing at the right time.

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