The dictionary describes the word encourage to mean promote, assist, advance or foster. That sounds so easy doesn’t it? Who better to promote, assist, advance or foster you than yourself? But it’s never that simple. It’s always been easier for me to push others to their greatness. To remind them of how awesome and amazing they truly are. Be a sideline cheerleader for everyone else but I’ve always had a hard time encouraging myself. One day I was speaking with a friend at work. We both had been having some trying times in our lives. I was in a job that I couldn’t quite grasp. I knew I was smart enough to do the darn thing but deep inside I was on the struggle bus trying to get the processes to make sense. My personal life was having its challenges as well. I had just lost my Mom and hadn’t quite dealt with the devastating blow of her death, And although I had lost my Mom I still had two amazing daughters who needed my help while they painfully navigated through the loss of their grandmother. I also was still trying to maintain a relationship while in a terrible amount of grief. I tried to keep my sadness to myself because I didn’t want to appear weak or broken. All of this had become my new normal. You see I had gotten really good at burying my feelings deep down inside and I had found myself paralyzed at making even the smallest life decisions. The simple things were hard for me. Indecisiveness had started to plague me and I had become stuck. I can’t recall what the two of us had been dealing with that day but after our brief gripe session of murmuring and complaining at my desk I managed to tell her to “encourage thyself”. We both stopped and looked at each other and gently smiled. I was speaking directly to her situation as well as mine at the same time. We couldn’t stop saying that the rest of the day and would jokingly say the phrase in passing no matter what was going on. The next day she gifted me with a pair of leggings and a shirt with the phrase “Encourage thyself “on them. And as the saying goes the rest is history.
As you read this you are probably saying well this all sounds well and dandy but how do we as flawed human beings, with discouragements, set-backs, insecurities and life hacks really encourage ourselves? My answer is simple: It’s all a journey and that is the beauty of the process. Teaching yourself what you need. Learning what you love and what you don’t love. Learning how to maneuver through life’s ups and downs while still standing. Trust me it will be a slow process of learning how to look at yourself with open eyes and an open heart and accepting your full sometimes broken self. Learning to accept every single error and mistake you’ve ever made with grace and dignity while giving yourself the same second chance you give to others. Not waiting for your spouse, significant other, family or friends to celebrate or applaud you. From this point forward you can unapologetically celebrate and applaud yourself. It’s about knowing that all of us have a bounce back factor deep down inside in which we can always activate at any given time. We can press reset and start fresh.
My favorite quote from a movie comes from the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy ran herself silly following the yellow brick road to get back home while sporting the sharpest red sparkly shoes this side of Oz. After all that running around, dodging flying Monkeys, trying to keep her three friends focused and safe Glenda the Good Witch finally told Dorothy “you had the power all along my dear”. I probably would have said “really Glenda…now you tell me”? But she did have the power from day one and guess what? So do we!! We have the power for the rest of our lives to promote, assist, advance and foster ourselves. So I say to you my dear please press your reset button. Give yourself that much needed second chance and “Encourage Thyself”
with the biggest smile,
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