Ways to Encourage

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For some, knowing the right way to encourage a friend or family member can be a challenge. Especially if words don’t always come easy. On top of that, sometimes we worry about saying the “right” thing—or worse—we will worry about saying the wrong thing.

Despite this, encouragement is one of the most important things we can give another person. If you want to read more about how encouragement and criticism affect the mind, check out our previous post, What Science Reveals about Criticism and the Brain.

Clearly, we can see that encouragement has a tangible effect on the mind and body, so how do we go about it the “right way”.

First, we want to dispel the myth that there is a “right” way to encourage.

When you take the time to show someone you care, it makes a statement louder than words.

Providing encouragement is simply a selfless act that focuses on another person. It is really all about seeing the potential instead of the problem. Now there is one word of caution. Positivity isn’t always appropriate. Sometimes the message of “thinking positive” can do more damage than good.

We have pain for a reason. We feel anger, sadness, and all the range of emotions for a reason. These feelings alert us that something isn’t right. It could be something outside of us that we need to change, or it could be an internal struggle, or even a bad choice we are making.

Things aren’t always positive, but we can look at the potential in each situation. We can speak encouragement over any situation. We can elevate with our words, or when no words are necessary or appropriate, we can encourage with our presence or our resources, or by simply saying, “I see you’re struggling. I’m here for you.”

There is no right or wrong way to encourage. Do it without expectations and from the heart.

We’d love to hear your thoughts—tell us in the comments below.