Words are powerful. In them you hold the power to build up as well as the power to tear down.
Words, though freely spoken, can be so costly.
We live in such an interesting time where you can just put words out all over the place. There’s Facebook, Twitter, emails, texts, this blog, etc. and when we read so many words “out there” we can forget the impact our words can and do have on those around us.
Our words have the literal power to build up and make change for good in those around us. We can call out the good that we see; we can also call out the good that we want to see. I can tell you one thing: I have never met a person who has been too encouraged.
I have learned the power of encouragement. I’ve heard it said that when you praise someone in front of others it increases its value tenfold for each person present, but for every one negative word you need to say ten positive things to cancel it out. Which one is really easier in the end? It can be quite difficult to hold our tongues but in the long run takes more effort and time to make the one we hurt with our words forget them.
I’m going to be really honest here. Early in my marriage I was what you might call a “nagging wife” from time to time. I would say, “Take the garbage out, do this, do that” and would get really annoyed when my husband wouldn’t do the things that I asked him to do a hundred times! You know how when you tell someone a hundred times to do something it really makes them want to do it? I know if there’s something that I am intending to do, like I already planned to do the thing, as soon as someone tells me to do it, I literally want nothing to do with it. Even though I had that understanding myself, somehow I thought the more times I told Justin to do something, clearly, the more he would want to do it… bahaha. Enter my lesson on encouragement.
I learned that the more I encouraged my husband and told him all the reasons I was thankful for him, how handsome he is, and how much I appreciated all of his hard work, the more things began to change. I’m not making this up. I tell Justin how handsome, hot, and ridiculously good looking he is literally 50 times a day. I let him know that I genuinely appreciate all the things that he does for our family. It builds him up and lets him know how much I love him. Now, don’t take this the wrong way – this is not “tell your spouse what he or she wants to hear so you get what you want”. This is an opportunity to open your heart and let him or her know how you really feel. Don’t just assume she or he knows. When your spouse feels loved and appreciated, it will make them want to bring their best self to the relationship.
Now I know everyone reading this doesn’t have a spouse, but I know you most likely have co-workers, family, and/or friends. Dale Carnegie puts it this way, “Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.” Encouragement is a powerful motivator and valuable relationship tool. It is important for us to tell the people who are important to us how we really feel and not assume that they already know. People are always going through so many things and you never know how an encouraging word will impact someone.
I want you to think about how this relates to your list of five things. We’re not meant to do life on our own, and that’s why I’m so passionate about community. I challenge you to think of five friends that you can encourage this week. Send them a text, write on their Facebook wall, or even send a handwritten letter. The method isn’t important, just make sure they feel loved.