Encouragement: the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.
Positivity: having a good, affirmative, or constructive quality or attribute.
Sometimes we all need a little encouragement, a few words of positivity and motivation to remind us that we indeed matter and are in fact worthy of love and compassion and even empathy at times. It’s all too easy to get caught up in life’s chaos and drama and forget that we are all human– and with that comes making mistakes, wrong choices, unintentionally causing hurt and pain to those we love, taking the wrong path, taking risks that don’t benefit us in the long run, etc. The list really does go on and on.
It’s often in those times that we feel the most vulnerable, misunderstood and alone. Where we internalize the hurt that comes from what we’re struggling with and although we may put on the best face for everyone else, what we’re covering up eventually becomes visible through the cracks. And if we’re fortunate, we have folks who care enough to happily provide us with those precise words or actions that ensures us we are loved and cared about.
I am a true believer in the power of words. Most of us grew up listening to the adage, “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”. Well I disagree. This is not always the case. Yes, words can indeed hurt. They can cut you deep, oftentimes more than if you were physically hurt, because a cut on your body can heal; the damage from words spoken in anger linger and can negatively shape how you view people and situations from that moment on. Words can really make or destroy an individual, depending on what is said to who and by who. If you grew up listening to encouragements and positive criticism, chances are you will have a better attitude about yourself than someone who wasn’t as fortunate.
It is why we need to be careful which people we listen to…and the words we use. Misunderstanding, wrong interpretations, assumptions– we’re all guilty of allowing each one of these to shape how we respond and react to someone, which unfortunately, often leads to unhealthy and hurtful discussions and arguments.
This is why, I believe words of encouragement are so important. Criticism on the other hand, provided it’s constructive, can be useful. In small doses, it helps sharpen us and shows us where we can improve. But when taken too far, it’s very dangerous and in my experience, folks are way too quick to criticize, and way too slow to encourage.
It’s human nature to remember negatives more than positives. To get stuck in that negative place that too often consumes us and warps our perspectives and impairs the lens with which we view the world. Then we are often surprised at the disfunction we see in society and in our relationships with people in our family and immediate circles. So to try to combat that, it’s our responsibility to seek opportunities to encourage one another whenever we can.