Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others. If they speak at all, it is to offer encouragement.
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
This quote has been clinging to me for days. It’s becoming a mantra, “Don’t criticize. Encourage.” Isn’t this exactly what we come to expect and want from others? To be encouraged? To be nudged along in our pursuits with a few Likes thrown in along the way?
I get why we shouldn’t criticize others, but am realizing how much more encouragement we all need. I’ve read quite a bit recently about the path away from this encouragement. That people see it as a negative thing for us to naturally seek it out. I’ve even heard that some have left the facebook platform because of it.They call it seeking approval. But I am calling it encouragement. When others stand beside you, you are able to face the resistance. When someone finally listens to you and hears your heart, you earn the courage to go forward.
When I see people doing working at their work, I can’t help but encourage them. I am a liker. And I like to surround myself with other likers. Sometimes I like or comment on work I don’t even agree with, but I can see where the person is coming from, and I like that. There is not enough encouragement in our lives. If you want to call it feedback or even approval, fine. There’s not enough of that either. We are always hearing about what needs to happen next, what more we could do. At work. At home. At the gym. And when it’s not a voice on the outside saying it, it’s our own guilt ridden voice of critique. Enough.
Maybe this is part of why facebook is so popular? Maybe there actually is a part of each of us that is needing to be encouraged. We spend so much time in a torn down state and can switch over to our computers or phones for a little support.
Dictionary.com defines encouragement in two ways. One, to inspire someone with the courage or confidence to do something. And two, to stimulate something or someone by approval or help, support.
Yes.Let’s do that. Let’s stimulate each other, inspire, support. Let’s do the work. Overcome the resistance. And like each other along the way.
I rode in to Ruggles. The outbound train was just leaving when I arrived so it took a while for the next train to arrive. The sun was shining through openings and stairwells. Strangers wandered and sat. One lit a cigarette and hid himself in a dark corner. A young girl lost her mittens. Two young men shifted their weight, holding their place while waiting.
The train arrived.
Some of us got on the same car. Others spread out. We became passengers. I watched as the young men got off at the next stop. For the amount of time we waited, they could’ve walked faster to the stop than waiting. No one said a thing.
An old man got on the train and chose not to sit with me. He found the right spot and settled in with his newspaper. It was in a language I did not recognize. I thought about the foreign words swimming in his mind. And the equally as foreign thoughts in my own.
I decided to get off the train a stop before my own. To walk the rest of the way. Half way there, I stopped at a pub for a cider and tweeted to friends to join me. They arrived within minutes. We shared a basket of fries and conversation.
Have you ever taken the time to explore your neighborhood? Tammy Strobel wrote about this in today’s inbox letter and linked to this great guide to exploration.
Taking photos. Trying to find my way back into writing after an incredible hard week and a half. Work relationships are strained. The stomach bug hit. Exhaustion followed.
And yet, I am reading The War of Art and I am just wondering if it is all coming at me because something great is just within my grasp. That’s usually how it works, right? The baby stays up all night for three days in a row for seemingly no reason, she is miserable, all is falling apart, and then suddenly it all breaks. She takes her first steps.
It’s no different now, in my 30s. The sick. The trouble. The suffering. And then, the break. The art.
Right now I am focused on staying above water.
But something good is coming. I can feel it in the air. A shift. It’s coming. I just need to fight through the resistance.
My toddler is hitting me. What do I do?
Now the hitting is coming from a different place. A deeper place of frustration and anger that can’t be as easily switched over as it could before. Now when we enter her room for a little break from the hitting, it turns into throwing everything and a full tantrum. Yikes. After a few too many failed attempts at our old system, I realized we were quickly falling apart and went to a different type of redirection. And it’s working. For now.
When she hits me, I immediately change the look on my face to one of happy surprise (think: I have an idea!!) and say, “OH! I just thought of something that is nice to hit! Not people because that can hurt them but there are SO many things to hit! Want to know what I am thinking of!?” We then run through the house finding soft things to hit to release the frustration. And it’s working. Well. Phew.
And when the hitting turns to throwing, same thing, but we run and get her bean bags and basket. We have found that our dog’s bed (when the dog isn’t sleeping in it) or one of our living room chairs also make great targets for bean bag throwing. This is also totally working. PHEW.
And in this process, I am reminding her that these are techniques that we are using to help calm down her body because it’s important that when we are angry we are able to find ways to calm down our bodies so we can work through it.
What are your techniques for dealing with hitting?
Roozle spends a lot of time these days playing with her legos. This is no problem for us because we all love to play with them. We match colors. Build towers. Match sizes. Make piles. Build bikes. People. Cars. Lots of buildings for the animals. It’s awesome. And after every lego session (most lasting 30 minutes or more), she takes everything apart and puts it all away. Several times, I’ve reminded her that she can leave some of the hard worked buildings together if she wants to pick up where she left off the next time and she always responds with “no, Mommy. We always have to take everything apart.” Even I don’t want to take some of these intricate buildings apart. The ones where you found all the right pieces and everything is stable and perfect. The elephant loves those kinds of houses. Roozle does too. But to her, it’s not about the end. It’s all about the process. And the process of taking all the pieces apart is just as wonderful to her as putting them together. She works so hard on her work. Then she just lets it go. No fight. Not even a pause. And the next time she starts anew as if it’s a brand new set. It’s all about the process.