“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 🙂
With some maternal encouragement (always the sports enthusiast that I am), my daughter decided to play soccer this Spring for the 1st time & she has really come to enjoy the experience. While her first game was absolutely traumatic, it’s been an awesome learning curve for both of us. Possibly her greatest take-away so far (we might be in the playoffs), is to not quit. There’s lots to say about that, but that’s her story 🙂
For me, probably the greatest take-away is to stay positive. My sideline role is to cheer, be encouraging, stay positive & upbeat, even when it seems discouraging. Another take-away that I TOTALLY love is that while I’m limited to a sideline role of cheering, the Holy Spirit in our lives doesn’t have to stay on the sidelines, but can have an active & integrated role in helping us with our daily living. Of course the Holy Spirit cheers for us, but let’s know that there’s lots more that the Holy Spirit can do in our lives, particularly when we let down our preconceptions, guards and boundaries 🙂
I was having coffee w a friend the other day & this lady walked into the coffee shop w some very loud shoes – her shoes were the 1st thing to catch anyone’s attention. Right away my friend commended to this lady on her super cool shoes, encouraging her that she looked cool wearing those shoes. I was really proud of my friend for being so encouraging & made a mental note to myself that I want to be that way, even if something isn’t my personal style or preference.
Here’s my line of thinking: our planet needs some encouragement because it seems to me that we are living in a time when there’s a fair amount of negativity. With this in mind, a great way to counter-act any general negativity is to be encouraging to people & even creatively encouraging. So here are just a few ideas you might consider & please feel free to leave more suggestions so we can all help each other 🙂
consider telling a co-worker that you think they’re an incredible person, without the intent of trying to get something from them ,)
wave & smile at your neighbor when you drive by them
look at the cashier & ask them if they’re having a nice day, with sincere interest
send a kind email to someone & thank them for who they are as a person (consider telling them what characteristic you like the most about them)
tell your mate that you think they’re great
let a friend, neighbor or co-worker know that you appreciate them with a quick text message
drop a note in the mail (snail mail) to let someone know that they are special to you
Those are just a few ideas, but the principle of being encouraging is super powerful, even though it may seem rather small 🙂