There are not many days when a word of encouragement wouldn’t lift our spirits. At some time or other we all need to be encouraged yet at those very times it seems like a kind word is the last thing we hear. We all need to feel loved, appreciated, valued and told (even though we may already know) that we are doing a good job and that what we are doing is making a difference. There are so many ways we receive that word from someone else at just the right moment. It is in those times that we are propelled across the finishing line and wonder how we got there … encouragement has the power to move us above and beyond ourselves.
There are literally thousands of ways to be an encourager but here are a few that may help you to encourage someone today.
- Notice the small things and verbally acknowledge them
- Write notes of appreciation. You’ll be surprised how encouraged the recipient is that you bothered to acknowledge their effort
- Tell people something positive about themselves that you have noticed
- Notice when someone is not their usual self. Simply coming alongside someone in their time of discouragement can alter their frame of mind
- Remind them of past successes and rewarding experiences
- Public validation is a powerful encourager, but be genuine
- Take opportunity around mealtime to acknowledge something about each person at the table: mention the effort someone put into a task; an attitude that helped a tricky situation
- Send a card or better yet write a letter and snail mail it
- Listen with your heart. Don’t minimise or discount other people’s feelings – acknowledge and validate them; one of the greatest ways to encourage another person is to listen with your heart. Listening with our heart means ears open, mind friend- focussed and mouth shut
- Spend time helping them break their problem into manageable goals and then check in with them regularly, identifying the steps they have taken and supporting them to find ways to push through barriers to progress
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.