Day 7: Kindness and Encouragement
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echos are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa
Yesterday, my son and I were on our way to his soccer tryout for a select team of boys. There are 20 spots and probably 60-70 boys trying out. He was nervous, doubting his soccer skills and well down the dangerous road of comparison. I listened, acknowledged his fear and nervousness, and also said that there was in fact a chance that he would not make it onto the team. However, I then, encouraged him to think of his special talents on the field and focus on those things that made him stand out. In the 10 minute car ride, he went from seconding guessing and comparing to owning and celebrating his talents, which happens to be speed and agility, two things coaches love! By the time he left the car, he was confident, excited and ready to showcase his soccer skills. I was not only proud of him, but proud of myself. I think by choosing to acknowledge his fears and then encourage him to look inside and find his strengths, rather than looking outside and comparing and measuring against others, I gave him the gift of encouragement: I instilled courage into him.
Kindness to Self:
How do we encourage ourselves when we end up on that dark and lonely road of comparison and self-doubt? Ask for help. Call a friend and ask them for encouragement. Just last week I was in need of a little encouragement, so I swallowed my pride and asked a friend. This is what I received: “You are loved. You are wonderfully made. You are beautiful. You have purpose. You are a masterpiece.” Then he said to get up and get out of my head and do something that I loved. It worked!
Kindness to Others:
We can encourage others by praising, because praise works better than criticism.
Kindness to Strangers:
How does one encourage strangers? Let’s turn that around and commit to encouraging yourself to be open to engaging in some form of communication with a stranger. Begin with a smile, start a conversation on the train while commuting or speak with the person bagging your groceries. Life offers plenty of opportunities to engage and you just might get the chance to be encouraging.
Kindness to our Planet:
Encourage those around you to be conscientious about how to have a healthier earth, buy reusable bags for your dad who still uses plastic bags, plant a few seeds, really anything goes, so long as you keep encouraging yourself and others to be mindful of our planet.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/MarcoMichelini