Finding the Courage to Encourage Others
Sometimes it is difficult to know what to say. “Hey, your hair looks very nice…ummm ok, thanks Dad.” I’ve tried to teach my daughters this, when someone pays you a compliment, say thank you. You don’t have to make an excuse or reply with a, “no it doesn’t”. If someone is being kind, accept it.
Oh no, I have to deliver a speech to a group of people. What am I going to say? What if they think I’m stupid? What if I get nervous and clam up and forget what to say? Just remember, many people aren’t really listening anyway. Use a good quote or two, tell a personal story (people like stories), and of course be concise and to the point. Don’t go on for too long, no one wants that.
I have heard that people fear public speaking more than dying, which is quite sad. What is this deep-seated fear that seems to be part of our nature? Personally, I know that this is something I feared in the past, and I think with age, experience, and practice it has gotten easier, but again, why are we afraid to speak in front of a group and to use our voices? Perhaps we are afraid of being thought foolish, or looking stupid in front of people we know. I’m not sure how well I am doing as a parent (it’s tough to know when you’re in the midst of it), but I hope I can encourage my kids to use their voice. Sometimes we may just need a little more courage.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not inviting you to write me complaint letters or to simply complain to people about your frustrations. Using your voice is a chance to contribute. If we all need a little more courage, that’s a chance to “en”-courage each other. Maybe sharing your experience will comfort others and they will realize they are not alone in what they have experienced. I’m sure someone else can relate to what you’ve been through. We can all use our voices to share, and to build each other up. Have you paid anyone a compliment recently? Are you noticing others? Or looking for the good, for the positive? If you are, then speak up and tell someone. “Hey nice job on that…or…your hair looks nice…” A few kind words can go a long way. People remember kindness, and they remember compliments. I recall many times in my life that someone gave me advice, paid me a compliment, or encouraged me, and I am grateful for that. Those things stick in our memories. With a new year beginning I encourage you to use your voice, be confident, have courage, and encourage one another.
“When we have the courage to walk into our own story and own it, we get to write the ending.”
- Brene Brown