We live in an age of discouragement where every day we are bombarded with doom and gloom and a never ending stream of negativity. Many people are devoid of hope in their futures and in their lives. The escalation of drug and alcohol misuse in men and women and its long-term effects is a cause for concern and the increase in suicide, attempted suicide, self harm and depression is in urgent need of being addressed. We need people who have the gift of encouragement and hope to become more active and share their gifts with the community at large. We all need encouragement every day to achieve goals and dreams. When the magical words of encouragement are given at the right time it can make the difference between “keep on going, or giving up” . You will never know how important the impact you make on people by simply taking the time to acknowledge and encourage the challenges they are facing in their lives.
How discouragement affects us
Most adults have experienced many discouraging acts throughout their lives like, threatening, yelling, interrogating, criticizing, punishing and the complete lack of respect and dignity. All these acts have a damaging and long-term effect on the perpetrator and the victim alike. Sometimes we need to encourage ourselves and often when we need it most we fail to rise to the occasion, that is when encouragement from God and from others is important. Encouragement and hope are closely related. When we lose hope in something, encouragement from another renew our hope and lets us know that there is a better day on the way. We never want to feel alone, but that tends to be what we do when we become discouraged, we retreat into ourselves.
What is encouragement ?
Encouragement means to inspire with hope, courage and confidence. We tend to get depressed when we become anxious and worried about something but if we have someone that comforts us with encouraging words our hearts and our spirits can be lifted. Encouragement is the positive feedback that focuses on effort and improvement rather than outcomes. It is recognising, accepting and giving appreciation and thanks and can be given anytime no matter what the eventual outcome. The pendulum syndrome where you appreciate another and in turn they affirm you and your contribution to their advancement, is a mutual way in which people learn to trust and confide.
Encouragement and words of appreciation make every life better, happier and more fulfilling. Individuals can be transformed when they receive words of encouragement and especially if it is froma person that cares and shows a genuine interest in their wellbeing. We can all think of people who gave us encouragement as we have gone through life – parents, siblings, friends, teachers, bosses, sometimes strangers. They encouraged us to keep the chin up when otherwise we might have given up. We get support when we think we are alone and without hope. By listening, by acknowledging and validating who they are and what they do is very important to someone struggling to achieve their goals. Every person craves for this type of affirmation and acknowledgement and even a simple “well done” allows others to know that you appreciate what they are doing and it is meaningful to you.
What can you do?
Encouragement helps people to become more tolerant of life’s struggles and challenges. It fosters choices and also a belief in the contribution that is being made. It adds positive meaning to their lives. We can encourage people by being personally involved with them if they want to talk, all you need to do is sit and listen. People who are supported and encouraged do not fear making mistakes and are free of the implications of success or failure, they look at their experiences as an opportunity for development. When you bring hope and encouragement into the life of another human being and you bring a sense of admiration, courage, strength, wisdom, honesty, and kindness and spend time acknowledging these traits, which is sometimes needed to boost another, then you are in a position to change how people think, act and manage their futures. Never under-estimate the positive or even negative change you can deliver to another with words, thoughts and deeds of encouragement. The hope you have within yourself is a gift that can be transferred to another, especially when that person is at a low ebb in their life. If you haven’t got hope yourself you cannot give encouragement to another. We are the conduit that The Lord uses to interact with people. He uses us to help and care for the needs of others, including their emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Teachers are central to children’s lives as they grow and the approach they take to children can make all the difference. . Mutual respect and dignity develops and enhances a sense of belonging and encourages effort and improvement rather than seeking perfect results.
Some people are gifted by having an encouraging personality, and it is seen as a spiritual gift for those needing a morale booster and a lifting of the spirit. It motivates people and gives them the “push” that is sometimes needed into compassionate ways of doing something positive for themselves. Responsibility to use this gift must always take into account the possibility of being hasty with advice and change. We can be responsible for encouraging people to make changes in their lives that may have long-term implications and questionable results. People who have this gift are drawn to those in need and even when its confrontational, people go away feeling better and in control. People who are sad, lonely or just needing help are all attracted to people who have the gift of encouragement, who bring hope, security and encouragement to the one who receives such praise and recognition.
Hope in God is that anchor that holds us together in the storms of life. Ask for encouragement, it is after all the gift of giving to another what you may have within yourself and have been blessed to be the receiver of such a positive aspect of life. It is for you to give to all individuals seeking a better and a happier life. We need to be always encouraged when going through a hard time. We should always be a source of encouragement for that reason. Jesus said “do unto others as you would like done to you”. We all need hope and encouragement at every phase of our life and it is vitally important to know that you have someone at your side when all hope disappears and you feel alone and discouraged. Always remembering that being present and a source of encouragement to those who cross our path in life is the most important gift you can share, and in return it is encouraging to be able to help another human being in the process.
“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself”