- give support, confidence, or hope to (someone); persuade (someone) to do or continue to do something by giving support and advice; stimulate the development of (an activity, state, or belief)
The word encourage comes from an Old French word 'encoragier', meaning "make strong/hearten." These definitions are beautifully effective in giving a real sense of the active support and strength it exudes at its core.
One of my favourite quotes about encouragement is "Be an encourager the world has enough critics already."
I love how this directly promotes embodying encouragement. The decided contrast shows that in becoming one who encourages, we reject the role of the critic. Encouragement holds more impact, more necessity and more kindness. We need it more.
Choosing to encourage means we are looking to make something better. It means we're inciting confidence, stimulating progress or strengthening hope. This word is exactly what we need to build each and every one of us up. In any connotation it maintains its heart; its origins of positive potential continually advocate uplifting, inspiring support.
But do we use it? Do we encourage or do we criticise? Do we feel encouraged? Particularly within our self talk, which voice is louder - the encourager or the critic? Do we tell ourselves we can or can't? Do we support or sabotage?
'Encouraging', to me, is the crucial choice because it holds powerful possibility, especially when we embody it. When we become an encourager, not only are we encouraging others but we ultimately learn to encourage ourselves too. This means we are gentle and patient with ourselves, that we work through our mistakes rather than judge them, that we pick ourselves up rather than put ourselves down.
Learning to encourage ourselves transforms how we feel about ourselves and our abilities. Opting to encourage softens our tone, it fosters a kinder inner relationship and actually gets significantly more output.
When we make a conscious effort to encourage we'll boost our self esteem and as it becomes second nature, we'll increase our confidence, our solution seeking abilities and finally see ourselves moving in the direction we really want. We become good enough - we realise that our skills and ideas are worthwhile, that our possibilities are endless. We hearten who we are.
Today, be your own cheerleader. Encourage yourself consistently, refuse to allow the critic pipe up. Use this word to lay a foundation of solid self support. Encourage others too, spread it round and let those good feelings flow 😊