Encouragement is a game changer in the midst of insurmountable odds. From the coach rallying his team to believe in who they really are, to the father inspiring his son’s strength by simply showing up to the game, encouraging words and actions can make all the difference in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We may often face dark discouraging mountains. However, even an ounce of encouragement can produce a limitless storage of courage.
Words carry great power. As Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”¹ Words can easily tear us down and hurt us. Even a snappy comment can put someone off and make their day worse. The opposite is also true, however. Any encouraging words- even just a quick remark or two- can help bolster a person’s mood and improve their day. Recall a time when someone encouraged you, even if only in a small way. Think about how it made you feel. What can you do today to inspire that positive feeling in someone else?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Pay someone a sincere compliment.
Be mindful of setting, context, and appropriateness, but if you pay a sincere and thoughtful compliment to someone who will be receptive to it, you might just make their day.
2. Give someone specific praise for something they did.
If you’re the boss at your workplace and one of your employees performs a task well, don’t miss the opportunity to tell them. Even complimenting a peer on a job well done can help boost their self-esteem and provide positive reinforcement.
3. Be available.
Simply letting others know that you are there for them and willing to help them when needed can be greatly encouraging. Writing for The Life, Stacy Wiebe sums it up: “When you’re with others, you’re telling them that they’re important.”² Make sure your loved ones know that they are important to you and that you are willing to put time and effort into your relationships with them. None of us are meant to live life alone, and it can be quite encouraging to be aware that other people are around and willing to lend support.
You should seek encouragement for yourself as well. Surround yourself with people who will build you up and help you unlock your potential in life: people who are encouraging and not disparaging, who are honest but kind and constructive. If you can find people whom you can encourage and who will encourage you in return, you will create an ecosystem of encouragement that lifts up everyone within it. Don’t be afraid to seek out these kinds of people, and don’t be afraid to speak up and be a voice of encouragement within your current circles.
There are but two ingredients for encouragement to do its handiwork: a recipient willing to believe and a proclaimer willing to speak. Be that willing listener and that bold preacher today!
¹Proverbs 18:21, ESV (Bible Gateway, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+18&version=ESV)
²“19 Ways To Encourage Others” by Stacy Wiebe (The Life, https://thelife.com/19-ways-to-encourage-others)