picture taken from www.imfdb.org
If the encouragers could have the courage to be as tenacious as the critics, the world would be a better place
In my vocation, one of the key roles I play is working with and alongside people. One thing that has stood out to me over the years is the abundance of cynicism and in turn the dire need for encouragement. Now, don't get me wrong. I believe that many, if not most, people can and do see a side of good and encouragement in the world, and in many cases do appreciate the good that comes their way or the way people speak into their lives. What lacks, so often, is the communication of that encouragement. It would seem that it is much easier to be cynical or critical than it is to be an encourager. It is something I try to remind myself and those I interact with, to develop as a skill in our lives. To be people who recognize and speak about the things that should be praised. Be it a job well done, recognizing that someone stood up for something noble, or simply communicating the appreciation we have for that person. It would seem to me, that the scale of speaking life into the world has been put off balance by the death being spoken.
This was the motivation for me to write the above quote and put it online. But something interesting happened afterwards. As people started interacting with it, I would come back and see the quote again and again. And as I reread it, I noticed something. Do you ever notice connections of words and similarities in sentences when you read them? Well, I do. And in this case something caught my eye. The words 'encourager' and 'courage': "Wait. It would almost seem like the word 'encourager' or 'encourage' has the word courage in it." Was it a coincidence or was there something to this? So I looked up the definition of the word 'encourage' and here is what I found:
The word encourage comes from the Old French word encoragier, meaning "make strong, hearten." When you encourage the tomato plants in your garden, you water them to promote their growth and health. Encourage can also mean to inspire with hope, like when you encourage your friends to try out for the school play by complimenting their singing and acting talents.
The word encourage, literally and literary has the root word 'courage' in it. To give strength to something or someone and that it takes courage to be an encourager. It takes this courage because, the world's loudest are, more often than not, the ones who wish to tear people down: the cynics, the critical, the naysayers, the argumentative, etc (though I wonder if some don't even know they do that). So to be encouraging, in many cases, means to stand in the cross fire of hate, judgement, cynicism and criticism. It means we stand up for the little guy and being willing to mend the broken and bruised while on the battlefield. It means that we also risk the danger of putting a target on our back and though we wear the red cross of healing, that won't stop those who wish to take us out, to shot.
Where are all the medics, the up-lifters, the cheerleaders, the encouragers? Rise up and speak up! It won't be easy, it takes courage to be an encourager, to build people up and give them strength. But even though it is hard, the world so desperate needs them. The healers, the hope carriers, the world changers. If you are an encourager, let me urge you to have the courage to be as tenacious as the critics. Because it is you that can off set the onslaught of negativity and hopelessness. It is you who can make the difference of life and death in a single persons world. Sometimes, the seemingly smallest of actions, will have the greatest and far reaching of effects in this world. And so, don't underestimate the power you carry and the life you bring as an encourager, even if it is a simple word to lift someones spirit or a passing compliment. Know that your gift to this world does much more then you could ever imagine and is needed more then you will ever know. Oh, could I tell you stories and the power you have. So I say it again: IF THE ENCOURAGERS COULD HAVE THE COURAGE TO BE AS TENACIOUS AS THE CRITICS, THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE
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