Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Encouragement is a dirty word...sometimes...

I have noticed something with lots of people in our wonderful world. 
Encouragement is very important and I think we better take every opportunity to encourage folks in every way we can. 

Most of us get all the discouragement we need from all sorts of sources, including ourselves - we are truly our worst critics. We will beat ourselves up over the littlest things sometimes and discourage our own efforts and focus. 
There are a few people I know, who have no sense of when they should critique themselves and think all they do is perfect - you know the type - they’re the ones that come into the office all loud and boisterous telling the story of the weekend about their crazy antics at their family reunion or some other idiotic story, and they think they're just fine in all they said and did. Walk away...quickly walk away...maybe run in some cases...
The thing that hurts us - sometimes - is when a person comes up to us, and we know that they are not planning on encouraging us, but they say they want to talk to us and encourage us in what we're doing. 
They start with “I’m just here to encourage you in your efforts” and it’s all downhill from there. They go into a long diatribe about what you’ve done wrong, or how you could improve, or what they would do to if they were in your position, or nitpick about the small stuff that doesn’t really feel like a dog just bit your toe on the were in a beautiful spot and then something bad hit you unexpectedly.
This is NOT encouragement! This is criticism wrapped in a spiritual blanket and it usually just hurts. It doesn’t help anyone. If you plan on encouraging me this way, stop right now, because I will stop you in the middle of the conversation. If you want to criticize me, just tell me and I’ll take it like a man. BTW - always do the criticism in private - it’s better for you and the person you criticize. They take it better when you don’t confront in public or a public forum, like FB, Twitter or in a restaurant with their parents. Another BTW - add something positive to your criticism, so you help them.
Now, really, we all need some analysis or judgement on what we do and, and believe it or not, I ask for it regularly. I want to know how to improve. I ask it from bosses, from ex-bosses, from friends, from employees, from people who read my blog, most anyone. I love to learn and grow, even if it hurts at first.
However, we all need the encouragement more than the discouragement, criticism, analysis and judgement. We really see enough negative in life and need refreshing stimulation to help us develop into better people, becoming better at what we do. We need to help one another get better and instead of just criticize. The squiggly line in the picture above represents the challenges of success and the criticism that often comes along the way to success.
Let’s jump in and help someone be better tomorrow than they were today.
Lessons Learned: Encouragement can be confused sometimes.
Thoughts: Have you ever discouraged someone with your encouragement?
                   Is my blog helping you? Are you motivated? Are you helped?

If I am helping, please spread the word and let others know through Twitter, Facebook and whatever other mediums you use. 

BTW #3 today - Thanks for the encouraging thank-you's, "likes" and comments that many of you have shared already! 


  1. If you only knew my day today...a discouraging "encouragement" kind of day.  I think we've worked through it now, but it is very difficult to handle...especially when the mistake wasn't even mine, nor did I know about it until I was "encouraged" today.  Take one for the team, right??  Whelp, that's what I did.  I keep thinking of Kenny Baldwin's sermon, "Shake it off!!!!"...cause that's how to get through it...shake it off, and move forward!

  2. It's so good to know there are others out there who truly encourage and the Lord knows our every need. Thanks for the comment.

  3. This is a wonderful post, Craig!  You hit the nail on the head.  There is never a lack of discouragement in life. 
    Yes!  Your blog helps me, and I am thankful to have found it.  Please read what I wrote today - great minds think alike.  God bless you.

  4. Susan - what a kind comment - thanks for reading and I hope you keep encouraged as you come back...

  5. One of the things that bug me about my fellow Christians is how many euphemisms they use. I completely agree with you! A fellow Christian telling you that they'd like to give you a "word of encouragement"  is almost always a red flag for "I think you're doing it wrong and it's my job to straighten you out!"
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. You know, I've found that the business world has it's own words too. Thanks for reading and the commment and come again.


Comments always welcome...