“I most certainly don’t want to hear THAT!” One of my kids said this to me a few days ago about a character flaw. We all have things that we don’t like or want to hear, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t need to hear these things.
Over the course of many years, I’ve had all kinds of feedback & input, some of which wasn’t kindly given & some of which was somewhere north of Jupiter, utter nonsense. However, I’m learning that negative feedback can often be more helpful than positive feedback, even when it’s given poorly or with unkind motives. We would be wise to remember that because our Heavenly Father loves us, He corrects & trains us not to be hurtful but rather to help us walk in the fullness of His design for us!
Remember Hebrews 12:5-6, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”
I’m an affirmation junkie, almost to making it snare, so I have to be careful about this. As long as I’m careful, compliments can be really energizing & very helpful. I saw this yesterday when my daughter made her first car drive with me. I knew that I needed to keep my own jitters to myself & I also told my boys to keep quiet, as they rode in the backseat. So I looked for everything positive that she was doing & then applauded her for those specific things. She kept her speed down, stayed in the middle of the lane, used her turn signal well & became more comfortable with the break. Of course she was nervous, but she did well – a sigh of relief 🙂
Seems to me that when we find ourselves needing some affirmation, it’s a good indicator that we need to start giving more affirmation! We reap what we sow 🙂
Last night, the Grammys were awarded to lots of very talented people who have achieved some incredible things, some admirable & noteworthy. Despite all of these accomplishments, let’s remember what’s even more important than achievements – people. People are important because they’re people and not only for what they can achieve. So here are some ideas to affirm & encourage people in your life today:
tell someone why you like them in relation to their character – I like that you’re: compassionate, patient, passionate, creative, fun, thoughtful, etc
be liberal with compliments & stingy with criticisms
look for ways to encourage someone: I saw that you went the extra mile; I see that you’re trying to improve in this area, I appreciate your creativity, etc
affirm differences rather than shaming for conformity 🙂
let the Holy Spirit encourage you today & this can help us encourage people around us!
Ok, I just saw the movie, The Help & I read the book a few weeks ago & I’m a convert – loved it!!! There are so many great take-aways from both the book & the movie with such great life lessons 🙂
One thing that keeps getting repeated in my brain is the quote to a little two year old girl in the movie, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important.” These are such powerful words & have such positive imagery, not only for a 2 year old but for all of us. With this in mind, I think it’s super important to consider what we say to each other. Words that affirm, encourage, support, compliment, refresh, strengthen & even give affection are so necessary in our lives. I genuinely believe that the people who are in our lives in all of the many different contexts need such encouragement. And who knows, words like, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important” just might change the world, one person at a time 🙂
We all have had the experience where something has happened or someone has said something & we were left speechless. Sometimes, we’ve had people say things that have been really hurtful. Sometimes, we are in a situation that is very difficult to know how to respond. Sometimes, a conversation goes in a direction that can be uncomfortable. These are just a few examples of when we might be left “speechless”. Thankfully, I’m starting to learn to say less than what I think – whew! But what should we say in difficult situations, conversations etc?
Here are some thoughts:
be encouraging – look for something positive if you’re expected to make a reply
wisdom, the leading of the Holy Spirit, helps us to know when we should speak & when we should remain silent; there are appropriate times to be vocal & there are times when silence is golden
listen to what God would want to achieve through the interchange – getting on God’s page is more helpful than pushing my personal agenda
speak life – acknowledge shortcomings, be forgiving & affirming
Jesus said that people who are peace makers are a blessing because they’re called the sons of God – making peace isn’t the same thing as rolling over & playing dead, but it also isn’t about escalating a conflict.
trying to resolve conflict through email, facebook, text messaging, voicemail, linked in, etc is really difficult & sometimes impossible. Be mindful of what you’re trying to accomplish if you bring up difficult conversations in these settings because there is HUGE AMOUNTS of room for misunderstanding 🙂