3 Effective Ways to Encourage Others

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Everyone needs a good word now and then. Like sunshine breaking through the clouds on a dreary day, so a bright ray of encouragement can bring hope to someone’s darkness. Certainly we must be sensitive to those who are going through deep sadness. Sometimes the best way to be an encouragement is to “weep with those who weep.” But there are many opportunities in our daily routine to provide a glimpse of joy for the people around us.

Here are three effective ways to offer a healthy dose of encouragement to family, friends, co-workers and even strangers.

Be Sincere: No one likes insincere flattery. If you are going to offer a kind acknowledgement, be truthful. You may need to look a little deeper to find a way to sincerely speak an honest word of encouragement. For example, if your child’s piano recital was a bit rough around the edges, instead of insincerely telling them that they did a fantastic job, consider the factors you can compliment. “It takes a lot of courage to get up there and preform. You were able to hit some tough notes under pressure. I’m proud of you.”

Be Specific: When we offer specific accolades we are not only offering a gift to the other person, but we are tying it up with a bow and putting a note on it that says, “This gift is just for you.” For instance, simply saying “Great job!” is nice. But saying, “Great work on the Simons account today. I liked your creative presentation and the way you spoke directly to the client’s needs,” is better! Look for specific words and phrases you can offer others to help them know you paid attention and focused on what they did well.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Smile: A smile speaks a thousand words. It says, “I see you. I believe in you. I know you can do it. I care.” Just as words of encouragement are a precious gift we give to others, so a smile can lift up those around us and help them along their way. Think about when someone takes the opportunity to smile at you – it makes you feel a little stronger. A smile is that non-verbal expression that gives you the sense that you are noticed and appreciated. Offering an encouraging glance seems simple, but it may be a day-brightner to someone who desperately needs to know you care.

The word encourage actually means “to give strength.” The root word cour comes from the Latin word heart. Sincere, specific encouragement with the added blessing of a smile can literally strengthen another person’s heart and turn their mediocre day into a monumental one. May our words and actions be used to build up, rather than tear down. Let’s bring glimpses of sunshine to the people God puts in our path each day.

Broken Clocks, Broken People

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In our house, my husband is the one who does the decorating. I love the fact that he enjoys the hunt of finding just the right items to make our house an inviting environment for us as well as our guests. Curt loves to visit antique stores. I must admit here, before I met Curt I had never stepped foot into an antique store. Now, its become a regular routine.

Antique clocks grabbed my attention when we first started visiting old shops. Unique and beautiful, most of the rare clocks we purchased had long since stopped working. But that didn’t matter – they made lovely accents to the ambiance of our home.

There was one clock that I especially loved because of it’s classical design and features, yet this clock was old and of course, not ticking. I wanted to fix this particular clock because I had a feeling the chimes would add beautiful music to our home. I asked myself, “What do you do with a broken antique clock?” I suppose I could try to fix it myself, but I don’t have any knowledge of the inside workings of an old clock.

I tried to take it to a clock repair shop, but the repairman told me, “I’m pretty sure the only person who can fix this clock is the clock-maker himself.” Hmmm…..Since this was one really old clock, I am pretty sure the clock-maker is no longer available. Currently, the clock sits on our shelf as beautiful and silent decoration.

When it comes to fixing antique clocks, I know I’m out of my league. In my case, the only one who could repair the clock was the one who made it. Isn’t it interesting that when it comes to clocks, I recognize my limitations, but when it comes to people, I often think I can fix them. When will I realize that I can’t fix broken people, but I can lead them to the gentle touch of their Maker?

Consider who you are trying to “fix” right now in your life. It may be one of your kids, or a co-worker or your spouse. Could it be that you are not equipped to fix them? Maybe, instead of doing it yourself, you could consult the Maker and point them in His direction.

When we pray for the broken people in our lives, we begin to have a fresh perspective. And as we use our words to point people to the Lord, we give them hope beyond what we can provide. Let’s begin taking people to the Clock-maker, rather than trying to fix them on our own. God may give us the insight and tools to help them on their journey, but only God can do the greater work in their hearts.

Besides, aren’t we all broken in one way or another? Don’t we all need the Lord to do a work in our lives?

True Positive: Day 16 – Helping Others

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Feeling blue? Consider doing something kind for someone else. It may be volunteering at a hospital or a dog shelter or at a local school. You could write a letter to someone who needs encouragement or cook a meal for someone who could use some help or even bring groceries to someone who can’t get out right now. When we reach out to help others, thinking of their needs, it gets our mind off of our own stuff and actually gives us a feeling of joy. Although our motivation for doing things for others shouldn’t be to please ourselves, it is a natural consequence and an added blessing.

A team of sociologist tracked a group of 2000 people over a 5-year period and discovered that those who described themselves as “very happy” also volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month.  Of course, there could be a number of reasons for this, but researchers believe that showing compassion gives people a neurochemical sense of reward as an emotional boost. For more benefits to helping others click here. Jesus spoke about showing kindness and love even to our enemies. He said, “Give and it will be given back to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will be poured into your lap.”

Take one step today to reach out in kindness to another person.

Photo by Madi Robson on Unsplash