Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Being An Encourager

... Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

Last night at small group the topic was Encouragement. Did you know that for every ONE compliment or encouraging comment made, there are SIX complaints or criticisms? SIX to One!! 
This explains why there is so much negativity and dysfunction is many work environments... and even our homes! 
But can a simple application of encouragement make a difference in our lives? 

After discussing it last night and thinking on it this morning, I decided to try an experiment at work today. I decided I was going to look for every opportunity to be an encourager. 

I started with the man who delivers the tubs full of mail each morning. Jimmy brings 2-3 large tubs full of mail to our post office each morning somewhere between 6:15 and 6:45 am. I always say "Good Morning!" in a chipper voice and he usually acts like he's thinking about it and then replies with  something like "Well, it's morning, you got that part right" or something to that effect. 

This morning I greeted him as usual and he responded with the usual negative mumble. After he'd finished bringing in 3 carts of mail, I said "thank you Jimmy." 

He said "What are you thanking me for? I just brought you a sh*t load of mail!" 

I looked at him and smiled and said "thank you for doing your job." 

He shook his head and said "It must because you are still new." 

I said "No. I see how hard you work and I think you deserve a thank you for doing your job." 

He seemed to be having a hard time accepting my appreciation which got me thinking about last night at our small group and the exercise we did there in expressing appreciation for each person in our group. 

I had everyone trace their hand on a piece of paper and write their name at the top of the page. Then we passed our 'hands' around the room and each person wrote something appreciative about that person on their hand. It was fun to see everyone reading their hands when we were done but there was a lot of nervous laughter and joking taking place while we were writing on the papers. Self depreciating humor and teasing. What is it about ourselves that makes us less than receptive to a compliment? 

Do we live in such a negative world that we've forgotten how to receive a compliment or encouraging word? 

I continued my experiment all day, making positive comments each time the opportunity arose. After a lengthy conversation with a customer left my co-worker a little frazzled I commented that she'd handled that with grace and charm. I tried to find things to notice and appreciate about each person working today. And I came home this afternoon for the first time since I started this job NOT feeling completely exhausted!! Oh, to be  sure, my feet still hurt, my back still aches and my shoulders feel shredded but my heart felt light and when my husband came home this evening I greeted him, standing upright and smiling!! ( every day since I started he's found me semi-unconscious on the couch!!)

I learned today that when I reach out and offer a time of refreshing, via a word of encouragement, I get refreshed in return. Wow!!

So.... when was the last time you said something encouraging to a co-worker? Your spouse? Your family? When was the last time someone said something encouraging to you? Which comments are you most likely to remember?? 

1 comment:

  1. I like your exercise at small group with the hands; I'll have to remember that one. I'm an encourager by nature or perhaps spiritual gift, so it is "easy" for me to give encouragement. It is harder to take a compliment. I learned that the hard way when I realized my hubby was stopping complimenting me on the way I looked. When I mentioned it to him, he said it was because I always said I didn't look good when he thought I did so he over time just stopped saying anything. Made me stop and think about other compliments received and it is hard for me to accept them. I'm getting a lot better at just saying thank you, but it was a hard lesson learned.

    Great idea to be an encourager in the work setting!



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