3 Steps to Encourage Yourself – and Others

Everybody needs some kind of encouragement from time to time to keep moving on. I search for the encouragement more frequently these days than before because once not so long ago, I was depressed, not to the point of depression, but if just one more day longer, I could have been there.

For almost three months, I went from bad to worse, I could not think, could not find the energy to pick myself up. I didn’t want to speak in long sentences, I didn’t want to see anyone in the eyes, I lost all interest in going out and my mind is an ugly mess of self-hatred, and self-criticism. It wasn’t healthy, but it happens to all of us. How we try to step out of it is a story that might be told differently. 

What are the best ways to seek for encouragement?

This was how I felt for months… falling down and down and down. I’m floating now, with head above water, but often find myself wanting to dive back down….
[Image: Pond5 – stock 84689543]

Talk to your loved ones

In times of doubt, fear and uncertainty, the only way to make it better quickly is seeking a friend and let them shower you with encouragement, simple things like “it’ll be OK, you can do it” can be good enough for you to go on, provided that the friend is someone you trust and take their words seriously, and they are serious about your well-being too.

The words of those, whom we love, care about, believe in – are very important. It creates an instant boost in self-confidence and self-esteem. This useful psychological trick can only be effective when the person is showing you true and genuine care, or else, the insecurities will be doubled, ‘cause skepticism is also a thing deeply rooted inside your mind, once the skeptical seed has been sown, it’s hard to get rid of.  

Do drop your parents some words, let them know that you are struggling, if your relationship with them is amicable. This has not been an easy task when I was younger, but as I grow, I understand more of the things my parents went through, and it resonates on so many levels with me, as I realize, they must have had their hard times to, but they need to put on a brave face, so that their children wouldn’t feel scared. Now, I can just ring my mom, once every two weeks and ranting on about work. Sometimes I tear up, other times she nags me on when I will start my own family, but most of the time, my heart feels lighter, knowing she will pray for me from a far.

I do wish I could be like this little girl, lying my head on my dad’s shoulder like I used to be
[Image: WallpaperUp.]

Avoid jumping on the advice-givers wagon

Most of the time, people are quite eager to give advice or pass judgement yet they haven’t taken into account how the situation is affecting you emotionally and mentally. let the person know you just need someone to listen to your story, you just want to let the thing out of your chest, and you are not looking for advice at the moment. You can also let them know you need encouragement. You should consider getting advice when you have calmed down, and you have had a better are determined to take some kind of action to resolve the situation.

Asking for advice is the next step on the path of overcoming your difficulties. You can ask for advice when you have passed the point of self-pity, when you are sure that the dark clouds of negative thoughts have drifted far away. Advice on what to do, how to say, what should have been done – are not good in these times when you barely hold yourself together. 

Reach out, listen and encourage others

One of the best ways to pick up yourself is to listen to others’ stories. Many people around you are having internal, external struggles which you may not know about. Reach out to them and have a talk, asking them how they have been doing, and really listen. You will learn that anyone has things they hide away, but at the same time, they want to let the burdens out just by sharing. And same as you, they need someone to tell them, they have enough strength to get through the hard times.

This goes both ways – when you give others the gift of encouragement, you yourself receive those encouraging words. Like a reminder that is read back to you, you know that you may have things easier than others, and you will overcome that obstacle.

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” –Theodore Roosevelt

Unfortunately, encouragement isn’t easy to say to others, to ourselves. It sounds cheesy, sometimes meaningless and cliche that you don’t know how to make those words more impact and effective to the person you want to cheer up. Or for some, believing in encouraging and complimenting is the same thing, they don’t want others to “sleep on the victory”, rather encouraging others, they turn to criticize, scrutinize every little detail and dismiss others’ effort.  

We probably won’t truly understand the power and necessity of encouragement placed upon another human. And we’re never taught to encourage others and ourselves. We make it very easy to criticize and judge others, but always find a way to justify our actions based on our self-proclaimed “good intentions”. 

If somehow we change this pattern, looking on the bright side of things, searching for rainbow after the rain, seeing one issue in an angle that is different from our viewpoint, perhaps tomorrow can be a bit more tolerant, trivial arguments and all type of things that end with –ism in general might be a little less worthy to keep us awake at night.

References:

How to encourage someone

Steps to encourage your loved ones

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