Monday, June 27, 2011

36 things list: encourage someone

Encouragement is a funny thing.

There are those who bask in it like a cat in a sunbeam; “Really? You think I could do that?” A slow smile spreads across her face as you see the wheels turning & you can almost feel the possibility of this thing she wants to try running through her head.

And there are also those who want no part of it; regarding you suspiciously as you offer support & gentle prodding. Those who come up with reasons it can’t happen/won’t work so quickly that you catch yourself agreeing with them, or in the very least slipping partway down the slippery slope of negativity.

Should you fall into the latter category, I recognize your responses because they were often mine too. Any compliment, encouragement or positive statement was generally met with a reason (at least in my head) for why it couldn’t possibly work that way.

After adding my desire to encourage other people to my ’36 Things’ list, it has become second nature. If you don’t want to get a positive response over whatever idea you may have, you should steer clear of me. I turn into a cheerleader in about half a second at this point.

I’ve learned something from this “offering encouragement” business… once you have been at it for a while, people start telling you all sorts of things they have always wanted to do. You become a safe depository for dreams of people you barely know as well as people you have known your whole life, but who never felt comfortable sharing the things they wish to reach for.

The funniest part of all of it is this: by making a conscious effort to encourage others when they talk about things they want to try, something really interesting happened- something I never considered, when I added “Encourage someone” to my list.

Somewhere along the way, I finally started encouraging myself.

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