Healthy Relationships: Criticize vs. Encourager (Part 3 of 4).

Greetings and welcome to my post. For the month of May, I want to focus on this question: do you want to criticize people or do you want to encourage people? As you know, my goal here in 2015 is to write about building healthy relationships and my hope in doing this, you will examine your relationships by exploring the intention of the people in the relationship. Healthy relationships have good intentions, unhealthy relationships have unhealthy intentions.

So how would you define encouragement? How does it feel and what does it look to be a person who is an encourager? Have you ever felt and experienced someone who does encourager you? How did that feel to hear words of encouragement? When you hear words of encouragement, does it cause you to draw closer to them?

If there is one thing that is true it is this: If you hear words of criticism from someone, you will move away or not want to be close to them. But if you hear words of encouragement, you will move towards them and want to be close to them. Critical words and statements ruin and sabotage intimacy and closeness. Encouraging words build and create trust and ways to want to be close and have intimacy with people.

In some ways, critical people are like a cactus plant. If you go out to the dessert and you view and walk around cactus plants, you more than likely are not going to go up and give it a hug. The thorns on these plants really do hurt and hugging a cactus plant or tree will hurt you, given how thick and long the thorns are on these plants. Sure, the cactus flower can be pretty to look at from a distance but to get close, you may get hurt by the thorns.

Encouraging people are like a rose bush. Encouraging people do have thorns, we all have thorns, but the flower and the leaves and plants are so pretty and beautiful that you do want to get close to it as the thorns don’t cause you to move away or pull away. The beauty and smell of the rose draws you in to be close and smell the flower and you are careful not to allow the thorns to hurt you.
You see, healthy intentions of wanting to be an encourager really does build healthy relationships. We all know that we can be our worst enemy and we can all be hard and critical on ourselves. So we really don’t need someone else to come along and add more words of criticism to our sensitive self-worth. Instead, what we are really need is someone to encourage us and say words of encouragement as this really does say to us, that the other person believes in me.

So think about a tough day you had at work or as a parent or maybe you had car problems that day. What do you need someone to say to you when you get home? Do you need to hear someone be critical of you for your thinking, decision making, or actions you did that day? Are you really needing someone to make critical comments about your day maybe pointing out where you went wrong and point out what you should have done differently? Is that really what you are wanting to hear? In general, critical people are people who have a lot of should and musts and ought to do this or that.

But when you come home after a bad day, you do need someone who will listen, care, and give you words of encouragement. To encourage someone is to inspire them with courage, confidence and words of care. People who encourage are people who are positive, they do want to stimulate and say words to promote or foster an environment in which this is a safe and trusting relationship in which their goal and intention is to be an encourager and not be a critic. All people need encouragement and need encouraging words. Think of ways to be an encourager and I promise you will find you are participating in building healthy relationships.