“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Unknown
Jenny Needs Encouragement
Jenny, a junior attorney in a large law firm in Western Tennessee, recently discovered how to be her best friend instead of her worst enemy by not allowing the negative thoughts to stay in her mind producing negative feelings.
It was beginning to working. She wasn’t as down on herself as she had been. She was learning how to change her negative critical inner voice to make it more positive. But, it seemed like every time she became stressed with a new case she would revert back to her old self, telling herself she couldn’t do anything right.
Irene, the librarian at the law library took her under her wing being her encourager, telling her she could do this, helping her with breathing and relaxation techniques. She also started helping her face her emotions. Irene emphasized that Jenny didn’t need to be controlled by her feelings and that her emotions were not her identity.
After putting all her things on an empty desk, Jenny walked to the librarian’s desk, “Is Irene working today?” she asked the lady at the desk.
“She’s in the back room. Go on back. I know she’ll want to see you,” she said pointing to the hallway.
Jenny walked slowly toward the hallway, thinking, “Should I really bother Irene, I’ve been such a baby about all this. I should be able to handle the stress and just do what I have to do.”
She turned and started back to the table, “You’re being such a wuss. Just do your job. Get ready for this trial. You don’t have a lot of time.”
She stopped, “Jenny, you’re talking down to yourself again. You need Irene’s help.”
She turned back toward the hallway. She met Irene coming out of the lunchroom.
“Jenny, I didn’t know you were here. How are you doing?” Irene asked, then stopped. “What’s wrong? I can see it on your face. Let’s go to your table so you can tell me about it.”
Irene sat across from Jenny and reached out to touch her arm, “It’s going to be okay. Tell me what’s wrong.”
Tears started running down Jenny’s face. She tried to speak but chocked up.
“They just gave me another case that I have to argue tomorrow. I’ll be here all night and I’m so tired already. Herman, can’t bail me out this time because he’s in court also. There’s nobody to help me.”
Irene handed her a tissue and waited for her to calm down.
“Jenny, have you been giving yourself positive self-talk?”
“I’ve been trying, but it doesn’t always work. I’ll say something positive then it turns to what I can’t do and I get stressed. You’ve always given me the encouragement I need. I’ve made it through the last two cases. I just really need your help again.”
“I’m here,” Irene said. “But I won’t always be available. Did you know that you can be your biggest encourager?”
“It’s hard at first, but the more you practice the self-talk strategy, the easier it gets. Just the other day I read a quote by Anne Frank. It went something like this.”
“Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.”
“You’ve been a junior partner now for a year or so, right?”
“You’ve done two cases by yourself and won both of them. You’ve assisted in numerous other court cases. From my understanding, you did most of the arguing in the last few cases.”
Jenny nodded again.
“It’s time you learn to be your own encourager. I love helping you, but I’m not always going to be available. You really don’t need me.”
Jenny started to say something, but Irene put her hand up for silence. She handed Jenny a piece of paper with a list of things for her to do.
Jenny looked at the title, “Steps to Encourage Yourself.” She read down through the list. Irene sat quietly watching Jenny’s face.
“You, know. I think this might help,” Jenny said with a little sparkle returning to her eyes. “I did win the last two cases with no help. Actually, this case is a ‘piece of cake’ compared to the last two. My last client seemed to be so impressed that she gave me some extra money to treat myself to something special and wrote a commendation to the company.”
Irene smiled, “See you can do this. Don’t allow the negative self-talk to begin. If it starts kill it immediately and show yourself some appreciation. You can do this and you can be your own encourager. Now, I have to get back to work and you will be just fine.”
“Thank you,” Jenny said giving Irene a hug. “I can do this. I’ll keep the list where I can always see it.”
Be An Encourager
Encourage means to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence. For example, his coach encouraged him throughout the marathon race to keep on running.
“I believe God has wired us in a way that encouragement breathes life into us as individuals. Encouragement gives us a boost, lifts our spirits and gives us the energy to keep going. Encouragement is really a simple thing to do. It’s a kind word to a friend or mentioning something when you notice something good in others.” – https://gethope.net/10-ways-encourager/
Do you have an encourager in your life, someone who seems to have the gift of giving encouragement and strength to others?
If you are an encourager, do you ever wonder if your words really matter or if they do actually help the other person? It would be so easy to feel like no one notices or that you don’t want to bother the other person or perhaps that your time would be better spent elsewhere.
Let’s look at the other side of this equation. Have you ever been discouraged and want to quit or feel that you’ll never get to where you are going or it’s not worth it and someone comes along and point out the good that you are doing? Perhaps they tell you how what you’ve been doing has really helped them.
For example, in my writing, sometimes I feel like there’s no reason to continue then I get a response from an article that says they were really encouraged by what I wrote.
1 Thessalonians 5: 11 & 14 “Encourage one another and build one another up… Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
Galatians 6:9 “Don’t grow weary in doing good…”
How To Be Your Own Encourager
“Encouragement enhances growth. Criticism stifles it. Cheer yourself on.”
Self-talk is an effective strategy to train your conscious and unconscious mind to adjust your behavior for the better. In self-talk, you learn how to challenge your thoughts and your emotions for a positive attitude.
As you learn to challenge your negative thoughts and emotions and change them to positive you also learn self-control. When you learn the self-talk strategy and master your emotions and thoughts, your speech begins to change. You become your own encourager by saying positive things to yourself, like, “I feel better when I don’t smoke,” or “I am the master of my will to do or not to do something.”
The self-talk strategy involves the use of positive feelings. When you learn to identify your feelings and you are able to accept your feelings. You begin to have a deeper awareness of your thoughts and emotions and learn to take responsibility for your actions.
With using self-talk strategies you begin to encourage yourself as you begin to understand the reasons behind your actions. You are also, then, able to challenge and change your irrational thoughts that lead to negative feelings and behaviors. Your behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings begin to change which enables you to encourage yourself with positive self-talk.
As you accept the reasons or beliefs behind your behavior and feelings, you will find the willpower to stop the behavior and change the self-talk from negative to positive. You will also find affirmations and role-playing helpful in making the changes and becoming your own encourager.
Along with being your own encourager, you will find a burden lifted and feel motivated to develop new abilities, skills, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You will also find it easier to deal with friends, family, and situations that were troublesome before.
As you see ways to make changes in your beliefs, feelings, or behavior reinforce these changes with self-talk. The changes may be more difficult at first, but as you discover the cause and take steps to challenge and change the belief, feeling, or behavior it will change. Don’t give up.
Steps to Encourage Yourself
Online you will find things you can do to encourage others – co-workers, employees, students, family members, and friends. Many of these things can be applied to yourself as well.
Show Yourself Appreciation
- Show yourself that you appreciate when you complete a task that you might have had difficulty with, or difficulty following through.
- When you have a day where you’ve used positive self-talk and encouragement, bring attention to it.
- Compliment yourself on actions that made your day easier.
- Praise actions that took a lot of effort.
- Don’t criticize or find fault with what you’ve done.
- Notice the positive more than you notice the negative.
- Reward yourself.
Give Gifts of Encouragement
- Use stickers and prizes to encourage yourself. Make a big deal out of it.
- Print out photos of accomplishments for a scrapbook.
Motivating Yourself When You Are Struggling
- Remind yourself about your strengths.
- Talk to yourself about that thing you are good at.
- Provide examples from your own life that will help encourage you.
“It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever – the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it.” – Vince Lombardi