To Be More Joyful: Encourage Others

This is a continuing series about ways in which we can become more joyful. If you missed previous posts or find that you’re still too crabby, go back to the beginning of 14 Ways to Be More Joyful.

This past week as my kids and I hit a few bumps in the road as regards schooling and life in general, I found myself alternating between discouragement and bulldogged determination to solve the problems. I knew that our school and home wasn’t running as smoothly as it could.

As I reflected on possible reasons why and on the several areas where I saw room for improvement, I felt like I had a big L emblazoned on my forehead. You know, “Loser!”

A vanilla coke and a pep talk from FishPapa helped things immensely. I later realized that my kids probably needed just as much encouragement as I did. So as the week continued, I looked for ways to encourage them.

I intentionally sought out moments to praise growth and improvement.

And their eyes sparkled. And the dimples showed. And I knew that they felt good inside. And so did I!

By telling them when they were doing something right, I was boosting their spirits and giving them confidence to try — and win. In the process, I was boosted in knowing that I was helping them learn, grow, and develop.

I realized that being an encourager not only helps others, but it helps me be a happier mom.

Photo Source: Kopfjäger

What are you looking at?

Think about driving. I remember in driver’s training that they made a big point of keeping your eyes on the road, specifically focusing on where you wanted to go. If you looked to the left, instinctively your body would turn the car to the left. Don’t look where you don’t want to go. We were instructed to keep our eyes on the goal.

Hmmm…. Ya with me here?

If I am seeking to find fault, I will find it — as well as the emotions that come with criticism and defensiveness.

But if I am concentrating on encouraging my children, my husband, or my friends, I will look toward making people do right and feel right about themselves and I will land in a happy place. Literally.

I’m not saying that we never bring criticism. I’m talking about encouraging others. In The One-Minute Manager, the authors suggest, “Help people reach their full potential. Catch them doing something right.”

The rationale is that if someone does something correctly and is praised appropriately, they will want to do that thing again. You’re conditioning them to want the right thing.

And when they know the right thing and know that you are on their side, they will be able to take criticisms with that mindset.

Encouragement can be powerful.

  • It helps our kids know we love them.
  • It revitalizes the weary spirit.
  • It promotes improvement in weaker areas.
  • It strengthens already positive characteristics.
  • It simply feels good when we can lift up one another.
Photo Source: Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel

Encourage Generously

But maybe life already feels like one big give-athon. You wonder when you will ever catch up. When will the laundry pile diminish? How long until the baby is potty trained? Will this child ever obey me? Will it ever get any easier?

One thing that has helped me over the years has been this verse that a friend pointed me to long ago.

A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

– Proverbs 11:25

I was whining that I didn’t feel my hard work and care for others would ever be reciprocated. My friend pointed out that God has already promised me that it would. It might not come from the same person I was giving to, but God says that those who care for others will be cared for. He’s looking out for you.

Encourage generously. They’ll be blessed and you will be more joyful.

Are you an encourager?

What holds you back? What spurs you on? Where can you grow in this area?

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the encouragement. I really like the thought of “encourage generously”. This is what I’m going to focus on this week with family and friends. lifewithmom.com is fabulous, thank you. Have a wonderful Sunday. :)

  2. I meant lifeASmom.com is fabulous! ha! However, I felt like I just spent time WITH mom! ;)

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying! I actually took a college course last year called strategies but it was based on the teaching of Lou Tice (cofounder of the Pacific Institute) and affirmations and changing the way we think about things. He has many of his seminars on youtube. at first in the class i thought it was dumb and retarded but the more i did this with my children i have seen a change in them AND me! don’t get me wrong, i still do resort to the negative sometimes but i try to quickly change it around to the positive. i go back now and listen to his seminars on youtube too….

  4. Christine Cohen says:

    Wow, thanks for this post. I think it was just what I needed to hear right now. You are wonderful and inspiring…thanks for sharing those lovely qualities with us!

  5. Wonderfully written post with wise words! So very true. I’ve said for years I’d rather be Joyful than ‘happy’ …because joy lasts.

  6. Amen.

    Encouragement is so important and so easy. It may be the only encouraging word that person hears that day. I have heard it takes 15 encouraging words to cancel out a negative word… Words are powerful.

    I believe it is equally important to surround yourself with encouraging people.

  7. this is wonderful! i don’t have kids yet but i see how my relationship with my husband changes when it is more of an encouraging one rather than a complaining one. i know we aren’t perfect but a faithful effort towards encouragement & building one another up is valued by God! thanks :)

  8. Thank you so much for reminding me to encourage. I could really use refreshing right now…better get busy refreshing those around me. Thanks again!

  9. Excellent post, Jessica. Especially appreciate the scripture shared.

  10. This is a wonderful tip to being more joyful! Its so easy to be encouraging to my little one, because it so instinctive to say “Good job baby!” “Good boy!” or “YAY, way to go!”…..but I do have to remind myself to be that way with my older kids. And its true, they love it! I wasn’t raised in an encouraging home, in fact, down right DIScouraging, so it is something I have to remind myself to do. I just hope I do it enough. Thank you for the reminder! :)
    Now following you! Can’t wait to check out the rest!
    http://www.jatyourservice.blogspot.com

  11. Jessica, I loved this post. I am the worst encourager and my seventeen year old daughter would wholeheartedly agree! Good thing I am about to start a Bible study at my kids private school (where I work part-time) called Encouragement (or something, I left the book at school). Anyway, glad I’m not the only one who needs to be reminded and thanks for that great scripture too!!

  12. Debbie in PA says:

    Thank you…something i need to hear, and PRACTISE, again, and again!

  13. I just noticed this was an old series, but I sure needed to read it! Thanks! Who doesn’t need more JOY?!

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