A few weeks ago, I asked how people combat discouragement and stay the course. One commenter made a statement about having faith despite the naysayers and obstacles. It was a simple statement, but simple statements often have profound implications.
I often write about discouragement, so it’s only fitting that I write about encouragement. At least, I’ll share how I encourage others. I can’t seem to generalize when it comes to encouragement. Because of that, I’ll only focus on some of the ways I encourage others. I have a number of them.
Battling discouragement never is easy or pretty. Discouragement can do a number on a person. The people who emerge from a battle with discouragement never escape unscathed. They have to repair their armor. They have to dress their wounds. They have to heal. They then have to prepare for the next round of discouragement. They may be free from discouragement for a time, but, if they don’t prepare themselves, they will be caught unaware when discouragement next catches them. They may not be able to respond as they should if they aren’t prepared for the eventuality of battle.
I tend to be a lone ranger. Part of it’s my preferred work method; I work best when left to my own devices. Tell me where I’m supposed to go, then let me find my own way there. The other part is that I’m an introvert, and, as an introvert, I protect my space, be it mental, spiritual, emotional, or physical.
As a creative person, I’ve received both good and bad criticism. At its worst, it kills the creative spirit. I know. I quit playing piano when I was fourteen because of negative criticism. At its best, it fosters creativity. It pushes the creative person to try something new, to explore different facets, to embrace the terror of the unknown. That criticism may be harsh at times, but it’s given in a spirit of good will. It isn’t given simply to be given.