Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Wednesday Discussion: Who Will You Encourage Today?

I'm a little pushed for time today, so I'm reposting an article originally published several months ago, not long after I first started blogging. I hope you'll be encouraged by it, and also, that you'll encourage others!

"One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement.  When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own." John O'Donohue

The American Heritage Dictionary defines "encourage" as follows: To inspire with hope, courage or confidence.

Pastor Chris Beard described it in a totally awesome sermon which inspired this post, when he said, "to encourage is to speak courage into some one's heart.

No matter what our circumstance, no matter what our station in life, we can all encourage others! Quoting Pastor Chris again, "We are made to take the input of others, and to to give our input to others.

But sometimes we're afraid to share our stories and experiences. Perhaps we're afraid of what people might think, or maybe we believe what we have to share isn't that important. But all of us learn and acquire wisdom from our mistakes, and it's a gift to share this with others!

  Even though our scars exist (physical or emotional) the pain is gone, and sharing what we've experienced can strengthen, and speak courage into another person's life. One of the most moving accounts of encouragement I've ever read was in the June/July issue of Reader's Digest. Daniela Garcia  (pictured at left) was a young medical student who suffered horrific injuries after being run over by a train. Although she could have died, she didn't give up; she chose to live.

As a quadruple amputee, she finished her medical degree and became a rehabilitation physician. Through her experience, and her scars, she inspires patients daily, as well as ordinary folks like me who read her story.

Encouragement doesn't have to be on a dramatic scale. Every day we can encourage those around us. George M. Adams says, "Encouragement is sugar to the soul," and we all need it--children, spouses, friends, co-workers, the sales clerk who's having a bad day, etc.

In writing communities we encourage each other by sharing ideas to improve our writing. And we also share encouragement when rejections are received. We've all been there and we think of the current bestselling authors who aren't any more! And we're certainly encouraged to hear when one of us gets "the call" from an agent or publisher.

In the business world, encouragement by helping and sharing with others, and showing you care benefits everyone.

Dan Blank in his May 13 We Grow Media Newsletter, wrote a post entitled "What Are You Sharing?" In it, he discussed a recent transaction of ideas he shared with a prospective client.

Even though no money was exchanged, he chose not to hold back on his ideas and give them only a little of what he could offer. Instead, he shared extensively. Dan said, "It wasn't a transaction of money, but rather a transaction of of ideas and possibilities. Of considering what we can create together. And that's the way it should be. To share. To help."

And that's encouragement--at home, at work, or somewhere else out there in life--to share, to help, to care.

Who will you encourage today?


Debbie said...

I so agree with this. Just a small bit of encouragement can completely change someone's day.

Nas said...

I also agree. And our community rocks! By offering encouragement and tips/information.

Maria McKenzie said...

@Debbie: Absolutely!

@Nas: So true!

Old Kitty said...

I so agree that a little heartfelt and genuine encouragement to anyone in need of a confidence boost goes a long long way!!

Ms Garcia's story and tenacity is truly amazing!! Wonderful! Take care

Kittie Howard said...

Lovely post! Encouragement warms the heart, feeds the soul!!

Joanna St. James said...

this is really weird but I had a dream last nite where the kids I was reading to asked me who I was helping.. it got iffy after that, but i get ur point.

Norma said...

Maria, I couldn't agree with you more! I've been through some very difficult episodes in my past, and there was always someone there to give me the encouragement I needed to keep going.

This is something we should all definitely pay forward.

William Kendall said...

Lovely post, Maria!

Norma forwarded to me the story of a young woman who had a leg amputated. She was in Haiti doing volunteer work when the quake hit. Though she lost her leg, she's never lost her spirit.

Carol Riggs said...

Ditto as to the loveliness of this post. I love to encourage and be encouraged. Speaking courage into one's heart is a great way of putting it.

Thanks so much for your Versatile Blogger Award; I posted a link to here from my site today!

Melissa said...

Genuine encouragement can really improve someone's day. This is an excellent post

Maria McKenzie said...

@Old Kitty: Encouragement does go a long way in someone's life!

@Kittie: Glad you enjoyed the post!

@Joanna: Even when you're reading to little kids, you're enriching their lives!

@Norma: There's nothing like encouragement to get you through those difficult times. And paying forward is most gratifying!

@William: Thanks, William. It's amazing how adversity grows the spirit stronger!

@Carol: Thanks Carol, and thanks for the link!

@Melissa: Thanks, Melissa! In the words of Dirty Harry (kind of): "Go ahead, [encourage me], make my day..."