All of us advance through life learning as we collect a unique set of experiences, which begins in our childhoods and continues into our adult lives. That being said, some individuals have backgrounds filled with trauma and other experiences that make it hard to feel hopeful about the present and the future. Others are predisposed by our genetics to be more vulnerable to depression, low self-esteem, and other issues affecting our mental health and physical well—being.
Therefore, it helps if we spend time building others up through our own positive actions and statements. With minimal effort, we can help people who are discouraged from feeling more positive about whatever they are endeavouring to achieve and to have a happier mood for more of each day. If you really wish to encourage someone, then don’t be afraid to share kind words and offer other types of support.
The Background on Genetics and Self-Esteem
It might surprise you that some adults come to every problem they face with different tools and genetic backgrounds, which will affect their outcomes. A 2011 study found that people with certain genetic markers are more likely to have problems when facing stressful situations. Researchers studied a group of 326 participants. “People with an A allele were less optimistic, had lower self-esteem, and felt less personal mastery than people with 2 G alleles.
Besides, the A allele was linked to higher levels of depressive symptoms.” Genetic predisposition can make it easier for some of us to handle difficult situations and harder for others. However, we also have to use other psychological resources, not just genetics, such as our friends and family, to overcome obstacles. If we know who we can turn to for support, we may not feel so stressed about resolving problems.
Start From a Point of Selflessness
The easiest way to encourage others is to approach each effort that you make without any reservations. You shouldn’t do something if you have too many doubts about doing it. Once you are convinced it is the right action, then you should expect nothing in return for the effort. Then, through selfless giving, the world will enrich your life with many positive benefits. It might seem hard to understand at first why this is true, but please keep reading to discover how being positive has the power to change lives.
How to Give Encouragement
Did you know that the Golden Rule still exists?
“Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
When you offer encouragement to someone who feels distressed or downtrodden, you are giving positive energy back to the universe. You are allowing that energy to gain strength and expand to affect others beyond the first person whom you tried to help.
Focus on a Person’s Strengths
When you become aware that someone is trying to achieve something and feels discouraged, you can do a little probing to assess the situation. Why does this person think that he or she won’t succeed? Then, offer gentle suggestions for what success might look like and how to make it happen.
Be sure to mention how that person’s particular strengths will help to overcome barriers and achieve success. If this person brings up legitimate concerns that make their situation feel impossible, don’t hesitate to recommend resources, including other people in the same social network who might assist. A discouraged person can improve his or her self-esteem and confidence by moving through a series of challenges and finding success. This can change a pattern of self-defeating thinking and help the individual feel more positive in the future.
Use Empathy to Understand the Person’s Situation
Sometimes, when we go about trying to be encouraging, the advice we give feels like a platitude to the recipient. In more extreme situations, our words can even seem condescending, critical, or hurtful. When this occurs, we can make a person feel worse. While that may not be our intent, it happens because we aren’t taking the time to choose our words carefully.
If we rush through situations with good intentions, we can still damage relationships that are valuable to us. People who already feel depressed or suffer from low self-esteem can only take so much of these interactions, however negative they might be before they withdraw. To be encouraging, try to draw people out of their mode of fear or worry and feel capable of taking risks. When you have a conversation with someone and attempt to provide encouragement, use active listening, and practice empathy.
Try to understand more about the situation before offering a quick response. Watch the person’s body language and see how your advice is being received, especially before providing more guidance. Give that individual your phone number or social media contact information. Then he or she can seek your help in the future if needed. This keeps the person in control of how much advice will be received. It also helps you to not come across as overbearing.
Do Your Research
Finding words of encouragement that have been expressed by people over time can help someone. This strategy helps you to avoid saying the wrong thing. It also gives a person time to chew on a quotation and decide how it applies to his or her life. We say this because many of us discuss problems using digital or mobile communications, even on Facebook! What we say in a text, an email, or a social media post is easy to misconstrue. We want to respect each person’s privacy and feelings. It only takes a minute to look for a quote online.
Maya Angelou communicated this very concisely,
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Make significant changes in people’s lives by encouraging them! Try it!