We have a day set aside for encouragement too! Yes, National Day of Encouragement is celebrated on September 12th each year. According to the website, it “is a day dedicated to uplifting those around us and making a positive impact, no matter the magnitude. It’s that simple.” So to help you along, here are 5 simple ways to encourage others.
A Little Encouragement Goes a Long Way
The word encourage comes has its origins in an Old French word encoragier meaning “make strong, hearten,” from en- “make, put in” + corage “courage, heart.” And this is one of those things where a little bit goes a long way. There are many simple ways to encourage others in your life, and while most of it is common knowledge or common sense, repetition always helps!
As for me, the encouraging comments on my blog from all of you have definitely helped me keep blogging; and the support of people around me gives me the courage to try new things or continue on whatever it is I am doing at the time.
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden
5 Simple Ways to Encourage
Smile; and in the masked world of today, smizing is the perfect alternate! Your smile, and your happiness is infectious, and isn’t that the best kind of infection ever?
A smile is simply the simplest way to make everything better!! One solution to so many problems!!
“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.” – Steve Maraboli
A few days ago, my dd asked me who I thought is the funniest person in our family. Of course she was trying to get me to say it was her!! But it was not be to so; and as I thought about it, my son wondered if it was my dad. My dd’s quick response to that, “thatha was a happy person!” And that was definitely true: my dad was a happy person, and his happiness, his smile, his tidak-masala spirit encouraged everyone around him. As for being funny, while my dad did crack a few good jokes every so often, I know a couple of uncles who I think are the funniest in my family.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
While I am it, here are books that make me smile!! And I am sure they will keep you smiling and encouraging others too…
Acknowledge and Appreciate
Appreciate the people around you and those you see as you go about your daily activities; it could be telling your partner a sincere thank you for putting away the garbage, or complimenting the Home Depot checkout clerk that his mask is the coolest you have seen so far (and this is based on a true incident – the clerk who helped us had the coolest mask ever!). Like I said earlier, those compliments the online community give me keeps me going on my blog.
And don’t forget to notice and appreciate when others encourage you. I think this is truly important too, and encourages the “encourager” to keep doing so (not just with you but others as well!)
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein teaches us, in its own way, the importance of appreciating those around us.
“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” – Ralph Marston
Reach Out and Listen
Reach out to those you have not been in touch with for a while and even those you see everyday. Hug your loved ones at home, tell them “I love you,” and listen to them, fully.
In today’s world, I am glad we can have Zoom conferences or other options for video chatting with far-flung (and even those nearby who we cannot meet because of restrictions) family and friends. Just seeing everyone together energizes me!
“Just like downing a powerful caffeine drink, “reaching out to others” pays that big “life energizer dividend!” ― Wes Adamson
Pick up the phone and call a friend or family member you have not talked to for a while. Make it a point to pay full attention as they talk. No multi-tasking allowed! And don’t start thinking of how to respond even before they finish talking.
And why not go the old-fashioned route and mail an actual hand-written letter? I know receiving those always gave me a boost of cheer and strength that kept me going for a while! You can see for yourself the power of reaching out in the super sweet children’s book, Somebody Loves You, Mr.Hatch, which I talked about here, as well as in Joy where Fern makes it her mission to find her Nanna’s missing joy.
Reaching out to someone lets them know you are there for them. And that is often just the right encouragement they need. I know it is true as that timely phone call from a friend who called simply because or a simple “are you OK?” from someone at home when I was not feeling that great immediately turned my day around for the better.
“Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock”.–Unknown
Give a Shout-out Today
When you notice someone’s efforts, make sure you praise those efforts, no matter the results. Like your teenager’s first attempt to cook something for the first time! Praise progress! Every step (in the right direction) counts after all! And be specific – it lets others know you noticed and makes it more concrete.
And when that praise is a shout-out, that is, done in front of others, it is definitely more encouraging (unless they would feel awkward about it).
Leave encouraging notes to others; in person, via text or email, by voice mails, those pesky sticky notes, even as a sign in your yard!
These notes can run the gamut (and I am sure that many of these emails and sticky notes will not end up in a recycle bin – digital or otherwise – they will be saved to be part of that legacy)
- Have a great day
- Good luck on your test today
- I’m so proud of you!
- Come on! You can do it!
- I’m behind you 100%
- Reach for the stars
Check out Monica Strobel’s The Compliment Quotient: Boost Your Spirits, Spark Your Relationships and Uplift the World and Kathy Chamberlin and Debby Hoffman’s Find Something Nice to Say – The power of compliments
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”– Maria Robinson
Out With the Wrong and In With the Right
Focus on what is right, on the positive. If we notice the things done well, and minimize attention on those things we’re not too thrilled about, then this automatically encourages the right behavior. Almost like how we tend to our garden where we take care of the plants that give us most joy and ensure the weeds are not fed.
Of course, there is more
There are so many other simple ways to encourage and lend support; these are just some of them.
What are some ways you encourage those around you?
(And I had to include this goofy pic of my son from a few years ago!!)