How do i encourage others

There’s a quote from Shauna Niequest that goes like this:

“We sometimes choose the most locked up, dark versions of the story, but what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story.”

i know we do that – i know i do that myself – i see myself through a harsh lens sometimes and tell myself some unpleasant things.  And it’s not that the worst version of the story isn’t true – or at least partly true. But it’s not the whole truth.

Sometimes, when other people are seeing  just the miserable part of their own picture, i can see the rest of it, and help the other person see it too.  And i think that can be encouraging.

People don’t always want to take a different perspective though.  That can make them feel like you just don’t understand.   Sometimes it’s more encouraging to just sit there with them and say, “Yeah, that really sucks.”

Sometimes it’s hard to know which of those things will actually be helpful. And sometimes, neither of them are.  But those are a couple of things i do.

3 thoughts on “How do i encourage others

  1. It is a challenge to know when someone wants empathy (yeah, that sucks), encouragement (you’ve got this), perspective (this doesn’t have to be a bad thing), or advice (how about trying this..). I’ve found it best to error on the side of empathy and basically go in the order I listed it. Most people feel comforted and satisfied with empathy and when you sense that isn’t working, or they flat out tell you isn’t, I then proceed to encouragement. If that doesn’t help, then to perspective, then to advice.

    Liked by 1 person

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