verb (used with object), en·cour·aged, en·cour·ag·ing.
- to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence: His coach encouraged him throughout the marathon race to keep on running.
- to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.: One of the chief duties of a teacher is to encourage students.
- to promote, advance, or foster: Poverty often encourages crime.
I choose to live my life in such a way that when I need encouragement, I ask it for it, respectfully, and with consideration for the feelings of others. If I happen to need lots of encouragement, and need to take small steps in order to get where I’m going, that’s OK, too, because I’m weak in some areas of my life, and strong in others.
I’m able to give encouragement for those who are weaker than me in some part of their life. Sometimes we start out weak, but end up strong. For the person asking for encouragement, remember there’s nothing wrong with doing that, but also remember not to be demanding, needy, or manipulative about it.
I think part of why it’s difficult to ask for encouragement is what happens if you don’t get it from the person you’re asking. What if they respond in a negative or uncaring way? What does that say about your relationship with them? It’s one thing to not give out encouragement to someone because you have your own life to live, but it’s another when they ask for encouragement, and it’s still not given. Although it’s painful not to get the encouragement you’re asking for, I think it says more about the other person.
No one’s obligated to have a relationship with someone who needs a lot of encouragement in some areas of their life, but if people care about each other, and can see that someone just needs encouragement in order to do better, I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
It helps to be specific about what kind of encouragement you need. Something like “I’m feeling down, and could use some encouragement”, or “I want to do this, but find it difficult, and need some encouragement”.
Ultimately, you’re the one who can always give yourself the encouragement you need, and that’s a great ability to have, but good friends will also give you encouragement when you need it, so don’t feel like you don’t deserve to have people in your life who are encouraging.