Hello everyone and welcome to a new 'Week of..' series. This week is all about encouragement, of oneself, of other people, from other people. And I hope that by the end of the week we have managed to encourage eachother in some way.
The official dictionary definition is 'words or actions that give someone confidence or hope'. We use words of encouragement all the time, from taking the dog out for a walk in the morning 'Fetch the stick - Good Boy!' (pat on the dog's head) to yelling 'Go on my son' at the TV when 'encouraging' your team to score a goal. I've done that myself, during the 2012 Olympics, like they could hear me screaming 'You can do it' at whichever GB athelete was competing at the time! I was watching the Winter Paralymics earlier today and one of the downhill skiers was shouting at herself as she hurtled down the icy slope. 'Listen to her encouraging herself' remarked the commentator. All good stuff, all positive. But what about negative encouragement?
How many of us have said 'If you don't behave Santa won't come', or 'You can't climb that, you're too small'. I only caught myself saying the Santa type thing to my daughter once and then immediately realised what I had said and tried never make such a remark again. But I have heard this type of thing in the workplace too - 'You are never going to get that report done by 5 o'clock' and 'You're never going to let so and so get that finished before you are you?' Making someone feel guilty to get them to do what you want is off limits as far as I am concerned. But everyday you will hear this type of thing from parents, grandparents, employers - much of it said in jest, much of it causing silent pain.
However we all need encouragement, its how we gain confidence to carry on but its only good if it is genuine. It doesn't do anyone any favours to tell them their work, project, art etc is wonderful when quite plainly it isn't. That's how we get so many untalented people appearing on talent shows - no-one said they couldn't sing/act/dance.
My artwork today is of two cards I made for a magazine article on resist about 4, maybe even five or more years ago.
Looking at them I wonder how they got publish, but believe it or not at the time they were considered innovative stuff and the feedback I received encouraged me to feel better about both myself and my artwork. Seeing it again now it looks very dated and very basic, but I can still remember the feelings of positivity and self worth. It's a good feeling and that's just how it should be. It is very easy to give negative encouragement almost by accident, but we must think before we speak or act. After all, how do we really want our words to be remembered in the future by the recipient?
Tomorrow I shall be looking at other peoples' artwork that definitely deserves a positive word or two.