Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Flattery or Encouragement?

Can you tell the difference?  Often I cannot!  Admittedly there are times when it's very obvious you have either received pure encouragement or pure flattery.  However, I think there are many instances when the lines can be very fuzzy.   Don't you think so?  I sure do, and I find this to be more and more the case in the new wide world of internet socializing.  Have you ever received a compliment online that also included an "atta girl" attached?  As a blogger, I certainly have received my  fair share and given quite a few too!  This got me thinking, wouldn't this world be a much better place if we would all share the gift of encouragement more often?  Not so much veiled in flattery, but pure out and out genuine encouragement.  I  certainly think so!
I found this quote online;

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.

Isn't that the truth!  I guess that's one way to measure true encouragement from flattery.  Did it leave you with a lasting impression?  Did it bring you courage or hope?  Did it reinforce something in you?  I think sharing and receiving encouragement is very important on so many levels!

I sent a card with this image on it one year to a family member who was going through a rough patch.  She has thanked me over and over for this card so many times.  She says, whenever she feels stressed she often thinks of this, and then of me.  Encouraging those who are struggling is more common and easier to remember to do.  But, what about sending out encouragement daily?

Just look at this vim diagram I found online.  One glance at this and I am quite encouraged to share encouragement.  Seriously!  The benefits of encouragement are praise, inspiration, and confidence, something we could all use a little more of these days. I truly believe many of us are born with certain gifts as well as talents.  While many of us may not born with the gift of encouragement, I think it is one we could all learn to practice daily.  How often do you think about encouraging another?  I confess, it is not something I do as often as I should.  Nor, is it one I receive nearly enough.  

As women we probably get the opportunity to share encouragement more then most.  It always inspires me so much when I see mothers encouraging their children, especially their little girls.  Why?  Because, I also know as women we also tend to "dis"courage each other too.  Way to often, we allow things like jealousy, pride and insecurity to enter into our relationships with each other.  When a young girl has been raised with encouragement she is much better to withstand those negatives.  More importantly, she also learns to give more encouragement too.  

I have always received tons of encouragement from my mother, but not so much from other women.  I was in my very early 40's before I actually heard another women tell me, "I deserved it!" in a very complimentary way.  I cannot remember what it was now that I had done but what I do remember is the fact that because this woman was able to reaffirm that for me, it was very encouraging at the time.   She didn't just offer up a compliment, but offered praise which gave me encouragement and led to more inspiration and gave me more confidence.  That was quite a gift!

This gift was given to me from a friend at a time when it was so unexpected too.  I was not struggling or in great need of this encouragement but soaked it in like someone who was starving none the less.  That's how much we all need encouragement.   Everyone wants affirmation and encouraging others shows you care.

A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.

I don't know who this author William Arthur Ward is, but I love his quotes! 
Have you given the gift of encouragement lately?  I have!  Will you take it, and share it too?
I hope so!

 I am sharing this with you today early for my Wellness Wednesday post, because I don't even want to talk about my waistline today.  Now, that's an area I could really use a whole lot of encouragement on, heck, I'll even accept a little flattery on that one!
Have a wonderful day friends, and thanks for the read!


  1. That's definitely something to think about. In teaching we are told to take care not to over praise. Children know the difference between praise that is real and praise that isn't....or is manipulative.

    I often think about whether or not I am encouraging to others. There are days that I make it my goal to be more encouraging. Now you have me wondering which I am.

  2. You have no idea how this touched my heart today. Thank you so much.
    hugs ~lynne~

  3. The world would definitely be a better place if we encouraged others more. I know "words of encouragement" is not one of my love languages (Gary Chapman)and always have to work on that one since my husband's number one love language is just that! Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Holy Cow!

    This is a VERY powerful post, Mary. You gave me an idea about how to be encouraging on a more regular basis.

  5. Henri Nouwen seems to have such a beautiful take on human relationships. "When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
    — Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey)

    "Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasinly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family."
    — Henri J.M. Nouwen
    ...and one of my favorites: A true friend is one who listens to what you're not saying. I appreciate your post. Thanks! Cherry Kay

  6. I missed this earlier. It is a wonderful read on a pet topic of mine. I loved that you distinguished flattery from encouragement. I think flattery is all about making the giver feel good, and encouragement is medicine for the receiver.


Hi Fellow Dreamers! Getting back into blogging and would love your precious feedback. I greatly appreciate and really enjoy reading your comments. Thank you so much!