All About The Gift Of Encouragement. By Dr Linda Berman

“One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.”

John O’Donohue

  • We All Need More Encouragement Now…..

This tragic pandemic has faced us with exceptional life challenges. Inevitably, we often feel disheartened, lonely and frustrated. We also feel afraid at times, and grieve for those who have been lost to Covid-19. These are all enormous and powerful feelings, and it is far from surprising that we will all need the support and encouragement of others.

Sometimes encouragement might feel the only gift we can give; but now, and for always, it is surely one of the greatest gifts we can offer to another human being.

Whether this encouragment is from people we live with, or from friends, family or professionals, either directly or online, or from those we have encountered on social media, we need the encouragement of others.

Even though we are all in the same boat, struggling with the effects of this tragic pandemic, many of us thankfully have retained the strength, skills and resilience to offer help to others.

Do you feel you could be more encouraging? By this, I do not mean rushing into false positives or offering unrealistic reassurances.

Encouragement at this time may not necessarily be about emphasising another’s potential, achievements, talents or work skills.

It may be about helping someone to acknowledge, stay with and recognise the pain they are going through, knowing that you are there for them, even if it is on the other end of a phone.

The pain may be to do with loneliness, loss, depression, quarantine, lockdown, illness, the chill of a wintry day…..

12516230363_d24d74557d_oPierre Bonnard – Winter’s Day [c.1905] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

It may really help them to realise that, despite all the awfulness, getting through adversity is mostly possible and may ultimately be strengthening. 

Museo Thyssen- BornemiszaEdward Hopper. Hotel Room. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr

It might just help a suffering person to get through trauma and loneliness to know that someone else is rooting for them and has something encouraging to say to them, perhaps in the way of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a great and wise psychiatrist:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

To be encouraging, we need to be understanding, kind, genuine, giving, empathic. We need to really want the other to feel better.

  • Encouragement, Learning And Creativity.

25505996043_82542452de_oWilliam Sergeant Kendall – An Interlude [1907]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Her mother told her she could grow up to be anything she wanted be, so she grew up to become the strongest of the strong, the strangest of the strange, the wildest of the wild, the wolf leading wolves.”

Nikita Gill

“Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If they are to learn, all children- and adults- need encouragement, for it creates an atmosphere of safety and acceptance. It also gives a feeling of equality, so there is less of a one-up, one-down relationship between teacher and learner.

It will communicate feelings of respect, value, empathy, support and belief in the learner and in their unique qualities as people.

Encouragement is affirmation and it helps us to feel empowered. It goes straight to the core of us, lifting our mood.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Aesop

Even just a few encouraging words, offered with genuine sincerity, may boost someone’s confidence and motivation to carry on, to have the courage to face difficult challenges, to learn, to be creative.

“Nine tenths of education is encouragement.”

Anatole France

The word ‘encouragement’ actually contains the word ‘courage’, which is surely meaningful.

“People need encouragement to take action.” 

Joe Vitale

It is also important that we encourage ourselves and give ourselves growthful messages that are generous and caring, enhancing our own well-being.

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

Mark Twain

Appreciating our own qualities, and valuing and believing in ourselves is crucial if we are also wanting to value and encourage others.

Sometimes we might need a friend to help us get in touch with our good points. 

At others, it might be that we need a therapist to help us understand the roots of our lack of self-belief and to enable us to move forward with more self-confidence.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
Albert Camus

25719566385_a2299752c8_oRichard Brocken – Summer. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

Encouragement can free up another’s imagination and open up new psychic paths. These paths may be blocked off, not through lack of ability, but through lack of self-esteem.

Mirrored in another’s eyes, our hidden abilities may be released though some words of encouragement.

34899518993_c285788b6e_oGreg Haynes – Reflected Inspirations [2016] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

  • Some Encouraging And Wise Quotations To Help You During These Difficult Times.

19396018843_33c09bf575_oLaurits Andersen Ring – Ole Looking out of the Window [1930]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

The quotations below have been chosen to help provide the encouragement for us all to be able to reflect on life, on our personal strength, on meaning.

They offer hope, which is a part of encouragement. They persuade us to take another look at ourselves and our lives, to reconsider our ways of thinking about ourselves and others, about life and the world.

They offer us strength, inspire us to carry on,  elevating our mood, providing comfort and truths that we may have overlooked as we deal with the painful realities of our lives in 2021. 

“Nothing invests life with more meaning than the realisation that every moment of sentience is a precious gift”

Steven Pinker

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“Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

Virginia Satir

“We will get through it in the end but it might take time, but at the end of the day we shall all be OK again… the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away”

Captain Sir Tom Moore.

48622465902_23afb6a569_oDavid Hockney – Beach Umbrella [1971]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
Mary Anne Radmacher

48202454507_733cc5d326_oPierre-Auguste Renoir- Woman Leaning (Femme accoudée) [1887] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”

Albert Einstein

NOR MorgenstemningGustav Wentzel – Morning Mood [1885]

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

40487058655_dc0167b1a0_oOtto Stark – Summer Morning [1909]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

Robert H. Schuller

50876340243_cd7eb982ed_oJulia Fullerton-Batten – Grace Lee, Christmas, Lockdown 2, Tier 4 [2020]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’”
 Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”
Marie Curie

And finally, a beautiful story about giving a child courage to persevere with a difficult task………

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

 Anne Lamott

35518939103_890c7865b3_oHenriette Browne – Girl Writing [c.1870]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

Thank you to all my followers who have offered me encouragement to continue writing this blog, through your wonderful feedback. I appreciate every one of you. Do give this blog a follow if you find my posts helpful. You will receive weekly notifications of my next post straight to your inbox. Thanks. Linda.

©Linda Berman.

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