Pillow Talk: Less Critical, More Encouraging


Did you have a parent who was a perfectionist? Would your spouse or kids say that you are one? Perfectionists seem to have it all together, but actually the reverse is true. They (we?) are really insecure and obsess over behaviors and dust bunnies and kitchen crumbs and gutter leaves and dandruff.

Perhaps we’re so hungry for praise that we nitpick other people to make ourselves feel less bad. The irony is that being hypercritical does the opposite of what we want. It drives others away, and it leaves us just feeling emptier and even more anxious. Even when you say nothing, when you just think your critiques, you feed your own insecurity.

Here’s a secret: the people you are criticizing are probably even more broken inside than you are. Here’s another: people will respond much more to your words of encouragement than words of criticism. I believe that you will find that you can love people into good behavior more than you can scold them out of bad behavior. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

If you look for things in other people to praise, you will always find them.


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