At the end of the day, what’s important?

We all work to be productive and fulfilling in our jobs and our personal lives. No one sets out at the beginning of the day, gets up and proclaims, “Today, I’m going to be a discourager.” No, rather we desire to encourage. We desire to help those around us to live to their complete and full potential.

So, what happens, if at the end of the day, you find yourself with a discourager or . . . even worse, YOU are that guy who is consistently negative.

Here are a few suggestions:

– Decide what’s truly important.
Take time to honestly evaluate yourself. It’s up to you to decide if that discourager’s words are fair and deserved. If they are, pray, work to change, and let people know that you are working to change. If the person is just being negative, don’t give them importance or let them take up space in your brain. Decide what is really important and deal with those details. If the issues are small, leave them small. Don’t make a situation larger than it really is.

– Don’t feed the negative with unnecessary energy.
Surround yourself with positive people and energy. If you have to be around a person who has a strong negative perspective, sometimes it’s better to just let what they say or do go. Move on.

– Address directly.
If you have a problem, go talk it out. This should be one of the first things you try. Maybe a person just needs to vent. Listen and draw your conclusions. An hour listening could solve the issue.

– Be prepared to walk away.
Commit to staying in a situation and cutting a wide birth for grace. But if their negative perspective is too much at times, take a break from connecting with that person. Sometimes, time and space can heal a lot. You don’t have to eliminate them from your life, just reduce their time with you.

– Be subtle, but work to transform.
Look for ways to be a positive influence on them. A kind word or a card could do a lot of healing. Briefly strategize ways you can help them calmly see what they doing or subtly influence a change in their perspective.

– Don’t give them influence.
Minimize the impact they can have on you and others. Moving them into strategic positions hoping this will help them see a fresh perspective and change is very poor strategy. Keep their influence minimized.

– Love them. Respect them
Never belittle or question a calling. Respect that they just may be in bad place right now. God calls us to pray for our enemies. While they may not be an enemy per se, they do deserve our prayer, love and respect — even if they don’t reciprocate. I’ve seen many a person embarrass and humiliate a person to try and change a behavior. This doesn’t work. Not saying you don’t confront. Yes, do that. Be honest and forthright but you don’t have to deliberately take them apart.

– Life is too short so find the positive accountability.
Surround yourself with positive people. They will help you in times of stress. Don’t just keep “yes” people around you, either. Have people with you who can be honest with you about the issues you need to be aware of. Encourage them to talk with you honestly. That’s not negativity . . . that’s accountability.

What are your strategies? Are you and encourager or a discourager?

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