In 1 Thessalonians, Paul shows, through his own example, that encouraging others means being willing to share not only your life but their lives as well. It is a ministry of care for others. Paul describes his relationship with the Thessalonian believers in terms of humility and acting as a mother and father to them (2:1-12). He did all this to build them up. He did not desire to only take from them (although he allowed them to serve him) but he spent his time and energy giving of himself to them.
The principle is this: give to others. Don't be a taker all the time. People who constantly take without giving drain people and the church of time and energy to properly serve, build up, and encourage. Focus on encouraging others.