“Smile, for everyone lacks self-confidence and more than any other one thing a smile reassures them.”
Edification is generally thought of in spiritual terms. It is mostly in the bible that I’ve seen it used. We have the ability to edify others through our words or actions. How often do we let those opportunities slip by?
Many people are natural edifiers. There are also many destructive or toxic people. Aren’t we all drawn to people who make us feel good about ourselves? I don’t mean puffed up about ourselves, but we do enjoy feeling worthy.
I know negative people, and I try to stay a way from them. It’s exhausting trying to help them see the positive side of life. If I spend too much time in that presence, I start feeling down, and then I take others down with me.
I recently encountered someone who continuously said bad things about others or accused them of doing wrong. I kept trying to point out the good qualities of the other people and tried to get the person to refocus. Sometimes, perspective is everything in understanding someone’s actions. However, when a person tears everyone else down to builds themselves up, I kind of think the problem lies therein. I couldn’t bring myself to outright call the person out. Would you have? Or would you have continued trying to turn the conversation around? Or would you have just given up?
Do you know what I’m speaking of when I say people pretend to be lifting others up but are actually tearing them down in the same breath? You know those kind of compliments…“You’re really smart to not have an important job.” or “You look really nice with all that weight you’ve put on.” Or they compliment you but up themselves one…“I enjoyed your get together. Just wait until you have as many friends as me and you throw parties all the time.” They might even say something as crass as “I don’t care what others say. I still like you.” Gee, thanks!
Some people build themselves up by treating others like they are less than them. One of the things that truly irks me is watching someone disrespect servers or cashiers. The manner in which people handle wait staff tells me all I need to know about their true character.
My youngest child once had a teacher who made it a point to let the entire class know she did not like football players. (Maybe she was dumped by a football player in high school?!) She deemed them all stupid. There were three football players in this class, and she pointed them out. Had she checked their records, she would have found that they were all gifted students. Instead she chose to pick them apart at every opportunity. The boys developed bad attitudes toward her. It finally got so bad that we ended up having to go to conference. She apologized for her comment, but nitpicked their papers for the rest of the year. (example: simple two point grammatical error was charged twenty points for the entire paragraph instead of the one sentence.) The boys felt defeated. They hated going to class and did not have a productive learning period. I am not defending the student’s attitudes, but she was the adult and had the power to reverse the situation. Had she chosen to reward them with positive feedback, their attitudes would have been much better.
I know that in dealing with small children, I get a better response on praising good behavior than I do pointing out bad behavior. People, no matter their age, like to feel good about themselves. I do realize that children like attention in any form, but shouldn’t adults be too mature for this?
Edification need not come only in the form of moral or spiritual guidance. We can build others up simply by the way we choose to live. When we smile at someone, we lift their spirits. We have the capability to edify others by complimenting them, hugging them, helping them, teaching them, and even by taking the time to listen to what they have to say. We edify others by letting them know they matter to us. Being there for others is an important part of edification.
Attitudes are contagious. If we lift others up, they’re more likely to go out and do the same. Do you ever tell military personnel thank you for their service to our country? Do you perform small acts of kindness to your neighbors? Do you tell the people in your family how important they are to you? I don’t do any of those things nearly as often as I should. In fact, it can be scary to put yourself out there…people might just think you’re crazy…or they might just pass it on.