Healthy Relationships: Criticize vs. Encourager (Part 4 of 4)
Greetings and welcome to my post. In the next four posts, 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.
Do you remember the words of Kenny Rodgers song “She Believes in Me?” I have to admit, when I heard that song years ago, it really rang true for me as I could relate to those words of how this man felt regarding how his women or wife did believed in him. The main words to the song are the following when I think about being an encourager: “And she believes in me, I’ll never know just what she sees in me, I told her someday if she was my girl, I could change the world with my little song, but I was wrong. But she has faith in me, and so I go on trying faithfully. And who knows maybe on some special night, if my song is right, I can find a way, while she waits for me.”
When you are an encourager, you are saying to the people you relate to that you believe in them. To encourage someone is to make the statement that you do believe in them. To be an encourager is trying to find ways to really say to that person that you want and do desire to care for them and show words of care and kindness to them. You see, when you are critical, you view life as like a 100 yard dash and you feel the need to quickly rush in and try to fix or inform them where you went wrong. But an encourager sees life as a long marathon journey in which we all need someone on the sidelines of life cheering us on, believing in us, and saying to us that we can make it.
In other words, to be an encourager is so similar to being a cheerleader. If you watch a college football game and you observe the cheerleaders on the side, they are encouragers. If the team is winning or if the team is losing, they are out to cheer them on and believe in them whether they are winning or losing. Even if the score in the 4th quarter is 42-7, they are still wanting to cheer and boast the team and the fans in the stands to keep on cheering and believe in their team. To be an encourager is to be one another’s biggest cheerleader. We all are going to have good days and bad days and we need someone, despite our good or bad days, our good and bad moods, our good and bad circumstances in life to be our encourager.
We all have had critical people in our life. Maybe you grew up with a perfectionistic parent who was quick to rush in and point out your mistakes and criticize you. Maybe you had a rough sibling who was looking for ways to put you down and be a critic to how you were doing life, or being a student, or the way you did your hair or the choice of clothes. It really does not matter, because no one escapes childhood without someone who was critical.
But now as we enter into adulthood, we want to shake it off, let it go, and spend our adult years being around people who are and can be our encourager. We cannot escape critical people in our adult life and maybe we will choose a critic for our life if we choose a trade school, a training school or graduate school and we sit under someone who is teaching and mentoring us to be our best in regards to wanting to become a professional in a particular field or career.
But in our most personal relationships, we want someone that we can come home to who will be an encourager, who will cheer us on, and will want to walk and stand by us as we find ways to do life. I want a spouse or partner in my personal relationships to believe in me, want to work alongside me, and find ways to assist me to be my best. I never asked them to be my critical nor assigned them that role in life.
So as an adult, after we have been at work all day, or been a student or we choose to be in an environment in which we are leaning and growing, we all want to take off our hat and come home and be with someone who wants to be our friend, our cheerleader, someone who believes in us and someone who wants to give us words of encouragement. Choose a friend, a spouse, and others in your life who out to believe and cheer you on. Shake off the critics and find people who desire to believe in you and encourage you. Because when they do this, and as you give it back, you are participating in healthy intentions and healthy relationships as an encourager. Thanks for reading.