Whether you are a spouse, a parent, an employer, or a friend, there are some healthy ways we can encourage others that will NOT come natural if we haven’t seen others encourage us. This is what we can aim for in our relationships - check them out!
* Some parents only encourage their children in areas that the parent has interest in. Dad likes fishing for example, but the kid wants to play soccer. Dad buys the kid a fishing rod. This is selfish. And tricky, because kids want to please their parents. We have to be careful to elicit from others their dreams and desires without coercing them. To this day I have trouble figuring out my preferences for almost anything. I didn’t practice this skill set as a child. Listen to folks; listen up for their preferences; don’t fall for the old, “I don’t care, what do YOU want?” line.
* Help others gradually figure out their own ways of being in the world. This pretty much starts with listening to others’ thoughts, feelings and ways of doing things. Of course, there need to be age-appropriate boundaries AND we must encourage realistic goals. But beware of trying to manage your own anxiety by forcing others into your way of being.
* When children, employees, spouses, and friends object to something - pay attention. If we have been controlled by others, we might mistake this natural way of being for someone trying to control us. That’s not it!!! It’s ok for children to be ready to “get down” from their high chair if they have eaten lunch. Their attention spans are short! Sometimes a person states a preference and we cannot accommodate them. That’s ok, just say so without getting defensive or blaming them for asking.
* Encourage one another to go beyond our comfort zone; take risks; push the boundaries of our dreams. When a family is not well, there is too much drama and chaos to accommodate trying and failing.
Leave room in relationships for some healthy failure!!