Tuesday, October 30, 2012

On the word 'Encouragement'.

The feeling of being encouraged is foster when someone is given the affirmation and/or appreciation upon an action or a certain situation.  So you would think it's only logical that someone becomes discouraged when they're given a negative feedback given the same circumstances.  Is that only so?  I realised that discouragement also occurs during silence.  A non-feedback.

As adults, we learn to build walls for self-protection - the defence from others and also the defence from our own biggest critic - Self.  Which is why, there are some with great minds of steel iron that have been trained to plough through any discouraging circumstances.  And which is also why, some turn to God - where the world forsakes them, God will never.  Personal and/or professional development, of which I have learned, can never fully be a one person's struggling journey because as much as nature had the upper-hand in deciding who we are, it is nurture (and our surroundings) that shapes us.  Think of a relationship, a family setting, a battling workplace - we find identity in relation to others.  I discovered the lesser known meaning of 'no man is an island'.  It's not about us needing friendship so much, but it's about finding our identity in relation to our surroundings.  We are not just our names, but someone's child, parent, partner, boss, staff, etc.  The lifelong journey of growth is therefore made up not only by our own actions but as well as the encouragement/discouragement from others.  We do more of something because we feel appreciated.  And we do less of something because we feel unappreciated.  Simple isn't it?

But not so simple during childhood.  A child, tween or dare I say, teen, will not be able to perform such advance trickery to their own mind (called determination) at such a tender age.  Their future is shaped by encouragement from their parents, siblings, teachers and little friends.  Imagine all the closed doors that your child could have opened if you encouraged them to cook more, play football, love trains, build stuff, etc.  We never say no, but sometimes our silence connotes the same meaning to a child.  Don't worry, there're no psychological scars because they will grow up without ever wondering why they are not a train conductor, a landscape artist, a chef, a zoologist, a whatever-that's-outside-your-office-environment because they never knew these doors were closed even while they were young.  But as a parent, wouldn't you think, what could have been?

I must say, even well into adulthood now.  It's hard not to wonder if I'm good at what I do every now and then.  At work or personal because, perhaps in Asia - encouragement in words are hard to come by.  I blame it on all the Ladybird series my parents fed me when I was young which drew me an entirely utopian image of a British family!  But jokes aside, I come to understand that encouragement usually comes from a leader not in position but in form.  God, parents, bosses, teachers, coaches, even husbands and wives.  They may give affirmation in a different way - a parent is perhaps always more loving than a coach.  I believe a coach is more creative in a sense that they have to sugar-coat the shit they give you so that you don't give up, yet you are self-motivated to push on.  I've been thinking a lot about becoming a coach, not because I want to but because I know I'm fairly good at that.  To some who are reading this, I hope it puts a smile on your face :) I've been thinking about pursuing that seriously because I believe in BIG people.  I believe with the right partnership, people can be the best they can be.  They can stretch and give more.  Everyone has an ideal projection of themselves.  But not everyone feels that they can achieve it.  And that truly baffles me - why?  I know why.  Because I know what it feels like to be 'not good enough' too.  It's strange, sometimes it takes a person to believe in you, even more than you believe in yourself, to help you be the optimum you.

We're all still like little children, aren't we?

Think about it.

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