When was the last time you needed encouragement?
Encouragement in its purest sense is an action, usually of giving someone support, confidence, and hope towards an ultimate positive outcome, as a result of that person’s perseverance and endeavour.
Encouragement is the psychological equivalent of a “booster shot”, and needs regular top-ups; one encouraging comment over a 10-year relationship doesn’t work.
The rise of “cancel culture” (whereby if you say something that someone else disagrees with, they try to de-platform you via various social media attack methods), has resulted in lots of decent people deciding not to say very much at all about anything, and civil society is the poorer for it.
The “silent majority” thus stays silent, censoring themselves in all communication realms, including the realm of encouragement.
Pause a moment: when you look outside of yourself and your own circumstances, who or what has your personal support? Have you communicated your support to that person – encouraged them perhaps?
Pause again: when you need encouragement, to what or to whom do you turn to for encouragement assistance? Do you even feel confident reaching out to secure some encouragement regarding what you are going through, the circumstances you are facing, or the problems you have that have yet to find an appropriate resolution?
English metaphysical poet John Donne (1572-1631) wrote the words “No man is an island” (old English including woman and man in the same word “man” at the time), to remind readers of the myth of independent self-sufficiency, and that everyone relies on someone. Those that choose not to offer or receive support can become isolated, invisible even, the people who may die in their beds, and no-one notices their demise for months, sometimes years.
Encouragement can come in many forms, the most common being words, action, and time.
Look around: who may need a kind reminder that they matter, and what they do, matters? Who may benefit in ways immeasurable by the offer of some help and assistance with something they are struggling with? Who may respond well to someone who stops to notice that they are isolated, and offer (more than once, if necessary) to include them in an activity, event, or just to hang out with them for a while?
The opportunities to receive and give encouragement are everywhere.
Doing so just requires a different set of eyes through which to observe humanity around us - theirs, and ours.
Steve is the Director of Relationship Matters Ltd. He holds two applied Bachelor's degrees (Counselling & Addiction) and a P.G. Dip. in Applied Social Practice. Steve is married with two children and lives in West Auckland.