The sky was a grey blanket on that day in early February, we sat in the window as the snow fell silently outside. We chatted for hours, we listened, we empathised, we encouraged. I poured out my heart to my lovely friend. I told her how overwhelmed I was with all the encouragement I had received that week. I’d had compliments from people I aspire to be even half as good as in the creative world. I’d had a wonderfully honest and emotional response to a blog post I’d written. I’d even had friends from bible study speaking words of encouragement over me, things they saw as my gifts. I felt like I was walking on air as I left the coffee shop that day. It got me to pondering the impact of encouraging words, on different ways one can be encouraged and ultimate how I want to be the type of person who builds people up. An encourager.
Here are a few ways I’m working on it;
- Speak out words of encouragement. It may seem obvious, but so often we think something in our heads but rarely say it. If you think someone is good at something, go out of your way to tell them. Especially with friends and family, you may think your opinion is a given but often you’ll be surprised to find that people don’t realise you see them a certain way. In a smaller way; you see a wonderful photo on Instagram, don’t just keep scrolling or tap like, why not leave an encouraging comment, it always boosts my day when this happens to me.
- Listen. Truly listen. Some people need advice, others support, but everyone needs to be listened to first and foremost. Be the person who stops, takes a proper moment and asks how a person is really doing and purely listens to the response. I want to be the kind of person who can encourage a person by giving them my focus and time, to encourage them to open up and only offer my thoughts, when and more importantly if they are necessary, after the listening.
- Invest in people. I like to think of these as acts of encouragements rather than the words. Go to the sports game, school nativity, dance display, cheer like a nutter, read the thing your friend has written, sponser the marathon runner, pray for a person’s situation, go to the show your friend is singing in, share an article/photograph/thought someones created that inspires you. You get the gist, these acts of encouragement will mean the world, you are validated whatever it is that person is doing. I hold my hands up to not being good at this in the past, I’m going to make an extra effort on this one.