Everybody’s plate is full. There is no “good time” to get sick, receive bad news or feel like the other shoe just dropped.
Most of the time we have no option but to keep pushing through. We get tunnel vision and priorities can fly out the window. On these days, the most you can do is put one foot in front of the other.
Then a bright spot appears. You read a quote that inspires you, a verse comes to mind, a text from a friend, an email from your sister, a phone call Grandma or a handwritten letter lands in your mailbox.
And, you get encouraged.
Your day suddenly gets lighter, you can feel your shoulders lift and you feel like you have left the confines of the tunnel. Your periphery vision comes back and you start to notice things and people around you that you haven’t in awhile.
Your heart is gladdened.
There is this fantastic quote by Zig Ziglar that says:
How true it is. In order for hope to continue to grow we need the fuel of encouragement to keep it burning brightly.
It is amazing to be on the receiving end of that encouragement, it is a wonderful gift on frustrating days. But…
Giving Encouragement Can Feel Awkward
To encourage means to give support, confidence or hope to someone. The word itself has synonyms like hearten, cheer, inspire, motivate, revitalize and support. What wonderful words don’t you think?
It is so much easier to encourage someone who is giving you great news. You can easily say “Oh how exciting, good for you, that is awesome!”
But when the day is rough, the news is bad or you can just see someone is struggling, it can feel so incredibly awkward and make us feel uncomfortable. As a result we don’t always make the effort. Why is that?
There are times I hear bad news from a friend who is struggling and I want so badly to say something encouraging back. But I just can’t find the words or when I do they are so cliche’ it is laughable. I remember one text I was trying to write back and erased it about 5 or 6 times. Finally I said, anything I try to write sounds so trite, just know that I am here for you.
And you know what? I think that at the end of the day, that is really all we want to hear. To know that someone has your back and that you will get through this – knowing this is powerful and helps the hope rekindle.
How to Give Encouragement
Call me old-fashioned but one of my favorite ways is to send it in written form. I miss getting hand written letters, don’t you? I used to be an avid letter writer, I loved sending them and even more loved getting them back.
A beautiful card with a perfect quote, a handmade card made with their favorite colors, a postcard with a funny picture. These are all incredible gifts in and of themselves and lets the receiver know you are thinking of them.
But you know what, it doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, a letter written on notebook paper and stuffed in an envelope and says, you are not alone, will be just as treasured.
If letter writing isn’t your thing (and it is OKAY if it isn’t… ) what about:
- A text message.
- A phone call.
- Can I take you out to dinner?
- Can I bring you and your family dinner?
- Let’s go grab some coffee.
- Let’s go take a walk in the park.
Giving the gift of encouragement is about letting someone know that are not alone, that you are there for them.
Who can you reach out to and encourage this week?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books, and now with the Selah Journal: A reflective journal and mini-retreat. Start your own daily gratitude practice with our, “7 Days of Gratitude Challenge – A Gratitude Journal Starter Kit”.