From Discouragement to Encouragement

Posted by Jacinta Hin on June 8, 2009

It doesn’t take much to bring someone down.

We dismiss ideas using dampers like “that will never work”, or we disqualify what was just said with the ‘but’ word, often followed by a discourse on why we know better.

We steal a person’s spotlight by interrupting them midway through their story and take over with our own.

We generalize someone’s behavior in negative or disempowering terms “you are always so this or that”.

We are so self-focused that we forget to give someone room to tell us what they want or feel, or to offer their contribution to a conversation.

Sounds a bell for you?

We do this all the time and are mostly unaware of the damaging effects. And in those rare moments when we do realize, we often feel justified in our behavior or are too proud to change it.

Yet, to do the opposite and allow the other person their space and limelight, even consciously offering your encouragement, is so much more rewarding.

So next time you notice yourself doing any of the above, try to reverse your default behavior.

When somebody offers a thought, be curious and ask for details.

Stop yourself when you’re about to butt into someone’s story. Focus instead on the person talking and ‘participate’ through signs of interest.

And when you are on the receiving end, finding yourself discouraged and denied, refuse to play the victim and pull yourself out of your own misery.

You can remind yourself that most likely the other party did not intend to bring you down and isn’t aware of the effect their behavior is having.

Of course sometimes you can choose to let them know how you feel. Or just politely take back the mike and continue with what you were trying to say.

Whether you are on the giving or receiving end you always have a choice and you can always change your behavior.


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2 Comments so far
  1. Anne Egros June 8, 2009 3:50 pm

    Nice reminder Jacinta.

  2. Pulia July 12, 2009 6:40 pm

    I read your article with great pleasure. Thank you.

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