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Finding Encouragement

When a baby is first starting to say some words or make some sounds that indicate that it is trying to say some words, the parents usually encourage it to form precise words by repeating the words with the intonation that the baby is forming it in. This encourages the baby to learn to speak the words. 

On the flipside, if the baby is trying to say a word and the parents scowl at it, then the baby will be discouraged from speaking the words and will likely take a lot longer to start speaking. 

When we are kids, we have our behaviours reinforced through encouragement, and curtailed through discouragement. The most aggressive forms of these being praise or a reward (encouragement) and punishment (discouragement).

Even as we grow up, our behaviours are reinforced or curtailed through the same patterns, though the variety of things that can act as encouragers or discouragers keep growing (especially on the social cues front).

Our brains are wired to play it safe. So, we find it easy to find discouragement everywhere, even when it isn't there. For instance, someone deciding not to post on social media because they don't expect to get as many likes as some of their friends are being discouraged by the posts of their friends, even though those posts are not meant to discourage. 

We find it a lot harder to find encouragement. In fact, even when there is encouragement directed at us, we might wonder what the real intent behind it is and whether we actually deserve that encouragement. 

Take things at face value. Seek encouragement in the world. 

And more importantly, provide encouragement to those around you.

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