A Gift of ValueAuthor: Catherine Pulsifer, © 2011
We all receive gifts and we all give gifts. Most times when we think about a gift, we think of something of material value; something tangible we can hold in our hands, something that we paid money for. And the concept of re-gifting is gaining popularity. All of these types of presents are nice, and we all like to receive them, yet there are other gifts that are more valuable and money can never buy them.
What Types of Gifts Are These, You Ask?
Well what about the gift of encouragement. Giving someone encouraging words can sometimes mean more than a material gift. Those encouraging words can be just the influence the person may have needed to continue. And by receiving encouragement, they may go on to discover bigger things than they are currently working on. We don't realize the impact of encouraging words. And we may not think of them as gifts.
Encouragement is defined as: "the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope; persuasion to do or to continue something." It is the action of reassurance, of faith and of giving support to a person. We can provide inspiration to others by our words and by our actions. It can build confidence and optimism in a person by seeing what they are seeing and cheering them on.
When you look at times in your life that have most meaning, it is not a gift that cost a lot of money that you will recall, it is the people who believed in you, that supported you, that gave you assistance - that gave you encouragement.
Very few people develop to their full potential. And, you will find an encouraging person often supports those who do grow. A lot of times we are our own worst enemy because we allow self-doubt to enter the picture. But when someone comes along and gives us encouragement, and reassurance it helps erase the self-doubt that we may have. As Ovid once said, "The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged."
When I first had the idea to write a book, I wrote a few pages and then stopped and thought that this wasn't any good. No one will want to buy this. I was defeating myself before I even started. The voice in my head reminded me what the famous artist, Vincent Van Gogh once said, "If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." I showed the few pages that I had written to Byron, and he thought they were great. He encouraged me by saying, "write some more, this is good." All of a sudden my self-doubt was gone and I thought, wow, if he thought it has potential then I should also. So I continued to write, and Byron continued to support and encourage me by editing the pages and giving me words of encouragement. If it were not for him, the book would never have been finished let alone published.
There are many other times where I have completed or reached a goal because of encouragement from others. I am sure they have no idea how much their belief in me had an impact on the work I was doing. But their words of encouragement truly helped me I achieve the goal, and squished that self-doubt talk that was in my head.
We all need cheerleaders in our lives. These people help us to move forward with hope and fortitude.
Our children need this gift every day, especially young children. They need to feel supported and believed in. When we build their confidence by encouraging them they continue to grow and will develop an attitude about themselves that they can achieve whatever they put their mind to. The influence that parents and adults have on children is enormous. We can have a positive impact on a child's life by the words we use and how we say them. And, even when our children reach adulthood they still need assurances from us that they can reach their goals and achieve their dreams.
For those in leadership positions the skill of encouraging people can result in ideas and suggestions coming forward or it can squash all ideas. If people feel like they are being shot down or not listened to they will not present their ideas openly. In the work environment it is critical that all ideas be listened to and expanded on. These type of environment promotes one of everyone's thoughts are important and for the company to be successful everyone needs to contribute. In the book, Raise Your Line, Robert Stevenson said, "Encouraging, assisting, and inspiring people are far more effective than DEMANDING excellence." How true his words are!
Don't Wait, Give This Gift Daily
So the next time you are thinking of a gift, remember the gift of encouragement. Use it every day; do not wait for special occasions to share these words. It may amaze you to see what potential people can reach when they receive words that reassure them that they are on the right track. Positive words can truly make a difference in the lives of others, more than you may realize. In summary, I leave you with the words of Sidney Madwed, "If everyone received the encouragement they need to grow, the genius in most everyone would blossom and the world would produce abundance beyond our wildest dreams."
One last thought - if you find yourself surround with people who are negative, people who offer no assistance or no encouragement then move on. In her book, How To Be More Confident, Aurora McClellan states, "We need to choose and spend more time with those who support and encourage us and less with those who undermine us." Find people who are positive and are willing to help you achieve your goals. Don't let negative people stop you.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"Remember that in difficult times, we don't give up. We don't discard our highest ideals. No! We rise up to meet them." Michelle Obama
"By demonstrating you're continuously improving yourself, you encourage people to believe their lives will be better tomorrow than they are today by spending time with you." Zane Rozzi, Always Know What to Say Next: Communication Fundamentals Course Introduction
"Community in Christ, like mortar to a brick, can strengthen and encourage us when we are weak." Sarah Bowling, How to Keep Your faith in an Upside Down World
"Be confident about your status as a leader and do not feel threatened when a team member's innovative idea works exceptionally well. Recognize his contribution and encourage other team members to step up as well." Tyler Green, Emotional Intelligence: How To Be A Master Of Your Emotions, Dramatically Raise Your EQ And Become A Brilliant Leader
"Through leading and coaching, team members feel the difference: they feel encouraged rather than criticised; they feel supported rather than denigrated; they feel they are being cultivated rather than victimised. They feel MOTIVATED!" James Neal, Managing Motivation in 1 Hour
"It's amazing how often we, as teachers, have helped kids by influencing them in a positive manner simply by encouraging them to turn their thinking around. The transformation in these children has been totally inspirational!" Katrina Kahler, Confident Kids: How Parents Can Raise Positive, Confident, Resilient and Focused Children
"If parents consistently support, encourage, and expect the best academic performance from their children, it is almost guaranteed their children will respond positively." Willie Williams
"As you look around your world, how can you encourage or inspire those in your circle of influence? Every day, wherever you are, you have the opportunity to be a light and a blessing." Brandon Buell, Brittany Buell
"...words can be a powerful healing tool if used with loving intention, to uplift, encourage and inspire." John McLeod
Read more Inspirational Thoughts
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