Tag Archives: encouragement

Support Yourself

By Dr. Nancy Buck (originally posted December 4, 2014)


Good relationships are built on many things, including accepting, encouraging, supporting and trusting one another. But a good relationship with others alone is not enough. Strong mental health that leads to happiness must include a good relationship with YOU. That means we each must consistently accept, encourage, support and trust ourselves most of all. For many  this practice feels like a stretch.

Research suggests that most people have an easier time giving and supporting others with compassion than we do turning that inward. And studies link self-compassion to lower anxiety and depression. Another benefit is increased optimism, better relationships and greater overall satisfaction in life. This practice will improve your physical as well as mental health.

Here’s how to get started:

• Notice when you give or receive acceptance, encouragement, support or trust to or from another.

• Notice when you start discounting, discrediting, blaming or beating yourself up.

• As soon as you notice any of the above moments that lack self-compassion, immediately change to a kinder or gentler thought or statement.

• Continue to practice noticing how you give and receive these kindnesses to your family, friends and loved ones

• Continue to practice noticing and changing all moments of disrespect and lack of self-compassion

The Voice In Your Head

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

“What an idiot,” I complained out loud to myself while cooking for my family. “Luckily I am also charming, loving and willing to experiment with a new dish.”

All of this came out of my mouth automatically. I was not interested in having anyone else hear this monologue but me. You see, I have been attempting to change an old habit, an organized behavior. There is a voice in my head that admonishes, criticizes and belittles me when I make a mistake. Too often I listen to this voice that is putting me down and practicing one of the deadly habits that destroys relationships. The plan I’m not trying to cultivate instead has me shifting to my own out loud voice that encourages my efforts, complimenting me no matter the results!

sadwomanDo you know whose voice is in your head? You know the one I mean, the one that tells you “Be careful!” or “How selfish” or “That won’t work out.” This isn’t the voice that might be categorized as a hallucination. No, this is the voice that Eric Berne, founder of Transactional Analysis, described as critical parent. Berne stated that we maintained different ego states, including critical parent. (TA is a type of therapy that has lost favor in the current psychological circles Berne’s work was an updated and more modern version of Freudian theory of ego states.)

The voice and words that you hear in your head are most likely the statements you heard as a child spoken by your parents, older siblings, teachers, coaches and other carers. Your parents may not have said or meant what the voice in your head is saying and meaning. But remember, you absorbed and incorporated these statements as a child, with a child’s comprehension and understanding. And that is what still sticks as the cautionary, criticizing, or admonishing voice in your head.

Yet, these are only thoughts and stories that you tell yourself. This is GREAT NEWS! You have the ability and chance to change these thoughts and stories! You have the power to switch the voice from critical, scolding, or belittling to supportive, encouraging and loving.

Before you can make the switch though, you first need to hear this voice and these statements. You may be attempting to avoid the pain of criticism by pushing the voice down, pretending to yourself that you don’t hear it. However, if this is a strategy you’re using you know you still hear the scolding even though you’re trying very hard to ignore it.

For your Mental Health & Happiness try a different, more effective strategy. As soon as you hear that cautioning or belittling voice say out loud, “I may be clumsy AND I’m beautiful and courageous as I step out into the world.” Obviously this particular statement won’t fit every situation. But take that voice out of your head, say the words out loud, then say other encouraging words that offer love, encouragement and support!

The more you practice, the more successful you will become. Amazingly what you may discover is that the voice in your head speaks less and less frequently. The loving, encouraging, praising voice begins to take over.

You have the ability to eliminate the deadly habits that are interfering with the relationship you have with yourself. Begin consistently practicing the connecting habits improving your self-esteem and self-love.

Can you make a difference? You already have.

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

In 1990 there was interest and research in understanding why some children raised in challenged circumstances were able to rise above these hardships while others did not. Was there something about these children that made them more resilient and able to overcome the incredible odds against them? 

What emerged from this inquiry boiled down to one significant and important factor. The children who had a strong positive relationship with one responsible and caring adult had greater resilience, perseverance and grit. This special adult might be a parent, a teacher, a coach, a scout leader, some other relative, family friend, or a relationship that developed with someone who started out as a complete stranger. Who the person is  is not nearly as important as that there is a person. Isn’t that amazing?


Were you lucky enough to have that kind of strong, supportive and encouraging relationship with someone in your life? This was the person you could count on always being happy to see you, who believed in you during those times you had trouble believing in yourself. Perhaps this person showed you kindness when no one else did. Or maybe they were the person who got strong and tough with you giving you that kick in the rear that got you moving again. Were you lucky enough to have that kind of a champion on your side?

Anyone who thinks they are too small to make a difference has never been to bed with a mosquito   Gandhi                                

Take a moment now and realize that you are that person for someone else!  The relationship may not have been for a long time or long term. Perhaps it was only during one school term or coaching season. Maybe it was even more brief. You were the person who smiled at the stranger you past in the street. But the chances are good that you have been the one positive and responsible caring adult who showed support, encouragement and kindness to another person when they needed it. You provided that moment to help with their need for some resilience and grit. Take a moment to consider the impact you are having on the people who share the planet with you?

Today, choose to be that person. You may already have a person in mind that you believe could use a little extra attention, support and encouragement. If not, set your intention to be a kind, supportive and encouraging person today. Be open to whoever the universe puts in your path.

One of the quickest strategies to improved Mental Health & Happiness is reach out and help another person. You already have in ways you may not even be aware of. And today you can make a conscious choice to once more touch another someone.

“…and seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.”

By Dr. Ken Larsen

My friend Dr. Nancy Buck gave me a word of encouragement recently.  It reminded me for some reason of this old song, “Home on the Range.”   I can remember my boyhood hero, Roy Rogers, singing it.  [btw, the second verse is not very politically correct in today’s world, so stick to the first verse.]

It got me to thinking of one of my favorite subjects: words and the meaning they carry.

Think about it.  You have a meaning in mind that you want to send to another.  So you find words that fit and you send those words.  Hopefully, the words trigger a similar meaning in the mind of the receiver.  If that happens, communication has taken place.  Sometime even a meaningless word can have meaning if two people know what is being referenced.  For example, that thingy on your desk came with a doodad attachment.  Where are they now?  You ever communicate like that?  It’s funny how often that sort of thing actually communicates.


When I heard Nancy offer encouraging words, they triggered pleasant meanings in my mind that made me feel better about myself and about Nancy, and even about the world in general.  I like to find ways to send those kind of messages as often I can without falling into flattery.  If I look and listen, I can usually find something positive and up building to say to another.  Dr. Glasser’s caring habits help with this.

Now think of the unkind word.  The harsh word of criticism, or blame, or complaint.  What meanings do they trigger?  How do they make you feel?  We know that at best they don’t make you happy.  At worst they can ruin your day and affect the way you think about yourself.  You may even go home and kick the cat.  Poor cat.  Think of Dr. Glasser’s deadly habits.

We used to sing “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  I have discovered that that is simply not true.

Let’s look for ways to speak words of love and life everyday.  One of the rewards is the happiness it brings to you.

And your bonus is  a short clip of Elvis singing “Words”.


By Kim Olver


The third healthy relationship habit is encouraging. When I think of encouraging, I always think of Walt Disney’s Dumbo. Remember him? The elephant with such big ears he could fly? However, the first time Dumbo flew, he was asleep and had no awareness of his special talent. His friend, the mouse, was present and aware and told Dumbo he could fly. Of course, Dumbo was incredulous. He said, “Elephants can’t fly.” The mouse persisted but Dumbo wasn’t buying it. Finally, in desperation, the mouse handed Dumbo a feather. He told Dumbo this was a magic feather and as long as Dumbo held the feather in his trunk, he would be able to fly. Dumbo believed in the magic feather and flew.

I think encouraging is like being that magic feather. We need to be that magic feather for the loved ones in our lives. We must believe in our loved ones until they learn to believe in themselves. This is real encouragement.

Over the years people have asked me, what is the difference between nagging, a deadly habit, and encouraging. The answer is that when you nag, you are trying to get someone to do what you want them to do. However, when you encourage, you are trying to get the person to do what they want to do, to develop the courage or skill necessary to be successful.

Who do you have in your life that encourages you? When was the last time you encouraged someone?