I am making up a new saying today: “an ounce of affirmation covers a multitude of criticism”. OK, I know this is kind of a weird conglomeration of a few well-known sayings but you get what I am driving at, don’t you?
Partly because of insecurities and partly because want to please others, we seem to focus on the negative things that people say to us, especially when it comes to feedback on how we did in a particular task. It has happened to me a hundred times. I finish a message or teaching and ten people will tell me how much they enjoyed it and were blessed by it – and then one person offers a backhanded comment or a criticism – and you know what I go home thinking about. I especially love the “with a little more work, you may actually become a good preacher” or “maybe you should watch more of Pastor Joel” or “where did you find that sermon?” I would say that people mean well but it wouldn’t be true. Some people are just mean.
The point of this post is, something different has happened to me recently. A few folks have offered some sincere and simple appreciation for recent work and it seems to be outweighing the usual negativity. I guess it all depends on the situation and who the people are who are offering the affirmation. But be reminded of how important it is to offer praise where it is due. If you have kids, please take time every day to build them up. If you serve with a team, certainly give thanks to those colleagues. How about sending a quick email to a friend or leader who is proving herself as faithful? You just may be counteracting some sour critic that has ruined that person’s week!
It may sound a little awkward and it doesn’t roll off the tongue, but I like it: “an ounce of affirmation covers a multitude of criticism”.