“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
I had an unanticipated visit from one of my nephews the past four days. He’s a beautifully grounded 22-year-old college senior. In one of our many conversations it became apparent that he is struggling with who he knows he is and where he sees himself heading versus what his parents want for him. Sound familiar?
I know of few people who don’t welcome and appreciate encouragement; even the most confident and accomplished. Encouragement for good matters, particularly in a world of overly opinionated, overly stimulated people. We are often quick to debate matters, but we need to be just as agile to encourage.
Encouragement applies everywhere. We can find it in people who are:
- seeking employment
- questioning their faith
- searching for love
- dealing with family matters
- lacking confidence
- personally challenged
- venturing anew
- daring themselves
- beaten down
It’s hard to find fleeting thoughts of encouragement as you watch what is going on in the world today, never mind within our own sphere of influence. If you’re like many people, you rarely hear praise about the things you do well. Positive observations are huge and learning to focus on the positive and giving people genuine feedback, strengthens relationships in ways you may have not imaged.
Discouragement often demoralizes. However, favorable words and actions embolden! If you are inspired to share your heart and talents, these three actions may be worth your time and consideration… and be equally well received:
- Praise ordinary accomplishments. Look for the little things that most people take for granted. Make it personal. Look the other person in the eye, pause, and share your words with real meaning.
- Ask for advice or confide in someone. This is akin to flattery. You know how you feel when others ask for your advice or confide in you about something personal and important to them. It can be uplifting! Didn’t that action make you want to help and do what you could to ensure their belief in you is well founded?
- Show appreciation. Watch for the slightest improvement in someone. Be specific. Tell the person exactly what it is that you appreciate about her or him. Is it their compassion, work ethic, the way they treat others? Maybe it’s someone’s weight loss, organization skills, or willingness to take on a challenging task.
With my nephew, I simply promised to listen and support as he explores and pursues his passions. I sense he appreciated that encouragement.
Do you know someone who can use your encouragement, now?