My husband, George, and I were discussing how worthless movie critics are sometimes when we need help deciding what movies to watch. Several times, movies the critics panned ended up being enormously entertaining to us, while critically acclaimed films left us groping for some vague semblance of pleasure. At times, it feels like the critics go out of their way to promote depressing, serious movies and tear down light-hearted, warm-and-fuzzy movies.
Of course, sometimes they are right, and not listening to them gets you fifteen minutes into Aloha and a wistful fantasy that the cable company will refund your $5.99.
When it comes to our relationships, however, criticism rarely helps. In fact, it often wounds, sometimes viciously.
I've noticed, too, that criticism is a contagious disease and can spread like mange over a whole community. Once it sets in, the best treatment is a healthy, long-term course of positive encouragement.
The other day, I had lunch with an encourager. I felt so lifted up, so capable and psyched and positive. That wasn't how I felt when we first got together. She brought about that change.
She inspires me, and I am grateful!
What do you do to encourage others? Are you too often the critic? How might you shift your words to encourage rather than criticize?