Today I’ve been thinking a bit about how so much encouragement or discouragement depends not so much on what is said or done, but the setting you’re in or the people speaking to you. Here are a few examples:
1) A compliment or critique from an expert in the area they’re speaking of means much more than either from someone who you wouldn’t expect to know better than you.
2) Sometimes in conversation, at events, or in meetings, what is discussed isn’t necessarily groundbreaking. But the very fact that you were all in it together can be very encouraging. For example, I went to a “Women in the Workplace” event at my church a few weeks ago, and although there was nothing really new stated, the sheer number of women who showed up, appearing to be in the same or similar (or opposite) situation, was really encouraging. Similarly, I was in a meeting yesterday where nothing was really new, but the fact that we got to all talk about it together and make sure we were on the same page was very helpful.
3) It doesn’t matter how pleased anyone is with you, your work, your words, etc. unless you please the person you’re seeking to please. Compliments from anyone are nice, but don’t necessarily mean much if you don’t get the reaction you want from whoever you were hoping to receive them from. Likewise, critiques from people don’t mean much when you’ve pleased the person you set out to please.
Thinking about this makes me want to continue to ruminate on what this might mean for me personally:
- Who in my sphere of influence can I particularly encourage because of my position? Or maybe, who in my sphere of influence do I need to particularly guard from accidental discouragement?
- Who am I seeking approval from? I better make sure that I’m trying to please the right people. A good gauge is probably to test whose reactions I care the most about.
- How often do I take to heart that the Bible was written by God? Why doesn’t that “source” always beat out other people’s opinions?
- It’s a good thing to remember that encouragement can just be an agreement. It doesn’t have to be some over-the-top compliment, or praise, or anything like that. Just agreeing and displaying camaraderie can make a huge difference.
..just some thoughts after another day at the office.