How to Encourage



How to Encourage


  1. Be encouraged yourself. You can’t encourage anyone else if you are possessed by discouraging thoughts.
    1. Focus on positive Biblical thoughts like the attributes of God and the things listed in Philippians 4:8. Let them dominate your mind.
    2. Resist dwelling on critical thoughts. Take captive (2 Cor. 10:5) stray thoughts that move you to confront and complain. Invite mental patterns that help you see the good in what people are doing.
    3. Live a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t get plenty of rest and exercise, you’ll be grumpy and your negativity will penetrate into other people’s hearts. Aerobic exercise releases endorphins which make you a happier person. Eat more salads and less meat and french fries.
    4. Be prayerful – ask God to make you an encouraging person.
  2. Do not complain about people more than you build-up people with positive feedback, compliments, and written notes of encouragement. Pray for people and tell them you are praying for them. Before you correct somebody else, ask yourself “Have I sufficiently and recently praised this person? E.g. “Way to go on the report you gave yesterday.” Or “I really like the way you treat your wife with such care; you’re a great example to me.”
  3. Be a good listener. Ask meaningful questions, and then be attentive to the response people give. Don’t parallel everything with your own story, just listen and be empathic – rejoice with those who rejoice, and suffer with those who suffer. Did you know there are three passages of Scripture that teach us to be good listeners? (James 1:19, Proverbs 18:13, Luke 2:46-47)
  4. Now, get your mind going and determine what positive thought you can share. It may take the form of one or more of these pathways:
    1. Complementing people is a good thing, not a bad thing, and we all should do it more. Review what the individual does well, make a checklist. Do they dress well? Are they good on the telephone? Do they have a keen sense of humor? Are they giving? Sensitive? Helpful? Determined? Which of the 9 aspects of the fruit of the Spirit do you most admire in them (Gal 5:22-23)? What is a growing strength – or something positive that you see emerging in their character? Think about it. Think long and hard and you will come up with some good stuff. “We should not reserve encouragement for only those who appear ‘perfect.’ Rather, we should be lavish with our encouragement. Everyone needs it immensely.”
    2.  The more you do it, the better you get at it.
    3. Acts of Service go a far way in encouraging people. Do something that shows you care and it will usually encourage the person. Bake a pie, or pull their weeds or something.
    4. Writing a note that contains your positive feedback is very powerful.
    5. Pray for the person and then let them know you were doing so.
    6. Help a person review the blessings in their life.
  5. Periodically ask yourself: “Who have I encouraged so far this week?”  “Who have I built up today?” “Have I given out more encouragement or criticism today?” Aim for an 80/20 balance. Like fuel in your cylinder, the mixture is critical for success.

One Comment

  1. Posted September 11, 2007 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Good list! Thanks for sharing. Uplifting read on 9-11 six-year memorial.

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