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When you’ve been out and about, have you ever seen a total stranger who looked so sad or distressed that you worried about their safety?
One summer day, I was shopping at Walmart. As I took my shopping cart and stood in line to check out, I saw her.
In front of me stood a young woman, probably 19 or 20 years old.
Her clothes were a bit unkempt, and her straggly, uncombed hair dangled over her face, partially covering her eyes.
Then I saw those eyes.
Their haunting, hollow hopelessness speared my soul with a white-hot bolt of electricity.
I watched as she set her chosen items on the belt.
4 bottles of aspirin.
A box of razor blades.
A box of gauze.
I looked at her, seeking some furtive glance that would tell me, “It’s not what you think – I’m fine”.
But she kept her head down, paid for her items, and shuffled out the door.
And I said nothing.
I did nothing.
20 years later, I still wonder what happened to her.
I still muse about whether a kind word from me would have changed her that day. Would it lift her mood? Alter her life? Prevent her from doing something foolish?
I’ll never know.
I, like her, looked down, paid for my items, and walked out – in silence.
Take Time to Encourage Someone
We rarely fathom the depth and weight of the struggles that shackle and suffocate others. After all, we have our own problems, don’t we?
Do you ever take a few minutes to encourage someone?
How often have you taken a moment to encourage:
- Your daughter
- Your mother
- Your significant other
- That person who always grates on your last nerve
- Maybe even that stranger you see struggling in the parking lot at the corner store?
Why should we expend our precious time and effort to reach out and encourage another, though? Especially when we don’t even know them!
1. Because We Are Not Alone.
We share this planet with 7.5 billion other people, and when we lift another, we lift ourselves, and we lift our world.
We elevate the collective consciousness of humanity and propel our species forward.
Gregg Braden has compiled a vast compilation of studies demonstrating the power of subtle energies and their physical effects – effects that radiate outward and affect our physical world.
His work bridges both science and metaphysics, but there are plenty of published, verifiable scientific data presented within his metaphysical extrapolations.
He touches upon a couple of them briefly in this video:
2. Because the Butterfly Effect Exists.
Good quashes bad.
I know that it rarely seems so.
Quite often, it appears as if the bad reign and reap heaps of rewards while the compassionate succumb.
And sometimes, that encouraging seed we plant today won’t yield results for years or even decades.
But, they do matter.
Every tiny act you take to lift another creates a ripple effect that spreads far and wide. Even when you can’t see it.
In 2013, scientists discovered scientific proof of the butterfly effect of energy in the quantum field.
When we dissect events in retrospect, we can often trace a major event back to an insignificant event that occurred years or even decades earlier.
Here are 10:
Those events seem like ancient history, though, don’t they?
When I watched that video, I thought, “But those are just nebulous associations that may or may not indicate causation”.
But try this:
Search online for “one small act that changed my life”.
How many results do you see?
Google served me up a whopping 788 million results:
Story after story of everyday people telling how one small act of encouragement, compassion, or care changed the trajectory of their entire life, sometimes with incredible, wide-reaching outcomes.
Many of these acts came from complete strangers who had nothing to gain from helping.
Some of the narrators recount a small but significant act from 60 or 70 years ago!
Do you ever feel like you don’t matter?
Or that nothing you do has any effect on anyone or anything?
Go encourage someone.
You’ll lift them, lift yourself, and elevate humanity.
What else could you invest such a tiny effort into and reap greater rewards?
3. Because You Help Yourself.
There are myriad studies that demonstrate how helping others provides a biochemical, emotional, and psychosocial boost to both the giver and the receiver.
If you take the time to encourage another, you:
- Boost your own mood
- Grow Your Social Circle
- Improve Brain Function
- Get Results
How to Encourage Someone
You probably think that you don’t need any tips on how to encourage someone, eh?
I mean, it’s pretty simple to walk up to someone and say, “You can do it!”.
Oftentimes, though, we don’t realize how our well-intentioned words come across with a tone of judgment, condescension, or blame.
What we mean doesn’t always come across that way, does it?
(I know you know what I mean! Remember that time when you said _____, and the person reacted with______, and you were thinking, “WTF?”? Yeah – that).
Here are some pointers to consider when crafting your message.
- Think before you speak (or write!) your message so you can truly lift someone’s mood, empower and motivate them, or suffuse them with unbridled confidence and ambition.
- Focus on them. It’s fine to give examples from your own life, but the best encouragements should focus on them – their abilities, their strengths, reminders of how they’ve succeeded in the past, and so forth. Use “You” more than “I” in your statements. (It’s not about you!).
- Mind Your Emotions. Emotions are contagious. If you’re excited when delivering your message and truly have the other’s best interests at heart, your message will be more effective and better-received. When speaking, move your arms and hands, stand up straight, and use your body’s animation to validate your message.
- Stay Positive. It’s sometimes tempting to remind people of their failures. Statements like, “You never ____” do more harm than good. Skip the bad and stay focused on the positive. Don’t bring up past failures. They’re done, and today is a brand-new day full of exciting possibilities!
- Enrich your vocabulary. Exchange your mundane words for emotional words that create images or experiences in the other person’s mind. If you’re vying for a new job, would you rather hear, “You’re smart and capable! You can do it!”, or “You have an uncanny ability to master any situation, and I envy you for it! You are formidable!”?
- Write It. Talking directly has its benefits, but writing offers more. If you write a letter of encouragement, you get to edit and perfect it first for maximum impact. Once you’ve masterfully crafted an impactful encouragement letter, you can either send it or memorize it to deliver it via speech.
Sample Letters of Encouragement
Want to craft a letter of encouragement, but not sure where to begin?
Use these sample letters to energize your mind and get those creative juices flowing.
As you read, jot some quick notes or highlight the techniques or ideas that’ll make your encouragement letter sizzle and leave a lasting impact.
Sample Letter of Encouragement to a Child
I wrote this letter of encouragement to my daughter.
She’s been through some pretty rough times. She gets discouraged when surrounded by people who restrict and condemn. Sometimes, hope for release seems elusive or even impossible.
In the letter, I reminded her of the times she did succeed, and how capable she truly is.
I didn’t say “Everything’s going to be fine”. I pointed out reality – that there will be few who understand, but it’s okay.
In your letters, don’t make false promises. Be honest and real. If you paint yours with phony fantasies, your message will fizzle and fail.
Your Time Will Come
To My Angel with Skin
I don’t think I need to tell you what an incredible miracle you are, because I’ve told you many times. But maybe you need a reminder.
From the moment you entered this world and stared at me with those deep and wondrous brown eyes of yours, I knew this earth would never be the same.
Maybe people didn’t notice, because they were so distracted by their daily tasks, but the powerful, unseen forces certainly did.
The earth shook, and I heard the ever-silent angels sing the most wondrous melody. The energy of that unseen life-force that sustains this world zinged and zapped with the tremendous shift of energy that you brought with you.
You are a special gift to all of us here, darling.
I know it doesn’t seem like it.
You’ve had so much crap thrust upon you, through no fault of your own.
Most people would crumble when saddled with one-tenth the burdens that were thrust upon you. But not only did you not crumble or falter, you SHONE.
When bad things happened, you lowered your head, gathered that amazing inner strength of yours, looked up, and smiled in its face.
When people took from you, you walked over to find something else, took it, walked back, and gave them that, too.
When miserable, damaged people hurt you and then blamed you for their pain, your deep, soulful eyes peered out through the tears and said, “I love you anyway”.
You, my dearest daughter, are an angel with skin.
You stood up against formidable people with your iron will and your armor of hope. You fought a tremendous fight, but the forceful won, so you withdrew, deflated and wounded.
But not broken.
Because you are a warrior.
Not a warrior who exacts revenge or seeks to maim or manipulate, though.
You are a warrior armed with love, compassion, and hope.
It seems like those who attack and seek to belittle and break will always win.
After all, how can this little warrior armed nothing more than light, love, and hope ever overtake the dark strength of pain and madness?
It seems impossible.
It feels like tight straps enwrap your entire body and you have no options, no way to break free.
Sometimes it’s hard to breathe.
Sometimes you wonder how much longer you can carry on.
Or if you even have the strength to make it one more day.
When you look ahead, you can no longer see yourself having the thing you have been fighting for. Hope has faded.
You watch as others get handed the thing you fought so hard to get. They have it, and you don’t.
You think you are trapped. Powerless. That it will never be.
You doubt yourself.
You start to believe them when they say you are bad or stupid or that everything’s your fault.
You start to let them in your head. Not much. Just a tiny bit. Then maybe a bit more the next day.
Their anger, their hurt, their damaged psyche starts to infect you, spreading over that amazing core of hope and light that you carry within, occluding it. Hiding it.
Time and time again, I have watched as horror reigned, and yet you stood.
Defiant. Hopeful. Strong.
But some blows cut deep. Deep in our core, threatening to eviscerate us from the inside out.
Listen to me, my child.
Your day is coming.
Yes, everywhere across the globe, it seems as if the bad and the strong always win, while the good and the meek always lose.
Oppressors become stronger to oppress even more, while the gentle ones suffer until they succumb.
But that’s an illusion.
What we see is not even a tenth of what is. And the most powerful things on this earth are not those people or those systems or those circumstances.
I felt the earth shake and heard the angels sing.
I’ve seen that enormous, indescribable, and inimitable power that lies within you.
They can’t see it because they are blind.
They want you to be blind, too.
YOU ARE POWERFUL.
The answers you seek are there.
Not out there.
There is nothing in this world or beyond this world that can stop you, bind you, trample you, dominate you, or break you.
It’s been so long since you’ve seen who are truly are that maybe you’ve forgotten.
You. Are. Powerful.
You are a warrior.
Not a warmonger warrior. An unstoppable warrior of light.
You have more power than you can even imagine, and your day is coming, my dear.
Every dream you have will come true.
Every goal you seek, you will attain.
The world will not understand you.
The dark cannot understand the light. Because it is not light.
Don’t be discouraged.
There isn’t a being on this planet that can stop you once you sit in silence, go within, find yourself, and remember who you are.
I promise you that.
You are a formidable force, my love.
Never give up hope.
Don’t be fooled by what appears to be today.
All is not as it seems.
When thoughts come floating through saying, “You’re nothing! You’re powerless! It’ll never happen!”, snatch them up and throw them as far away as you can – as fast as you can.
They are lies. All lies.
You will show everyone the way.
Hang tight, do your best today, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt, my love, that you have everything you need to win.
And win you will.
Your day is coming.
Need More Sample Letters of Encouragement?
Check these out:
- Letter to My Best Friend: You Deserve the World
Notice how she gently reminds her friend of her past successes then transitions into instilling confidence and courage – internal traits that she already possesses?
- Letter to a Friend: Do You Know How Amazing You Are?
This letter hits the heart with its specific examples and gentle reminders of positive internal traits. While the writer uses a lot of “I” statements, the focus is always on the receiver. For example, she uses “I see..” a lot, but the topic is always the incredible amazingness of her friend.
- Letter to a Stressed Friend
Empathy comes first in this letter. “I know it feels like ____”. So, right away, emotions between the giver and receiver enmesh. When you feel understood, you’re much more likely to become receptive to what comes next, don’t you? You feel better simply because someone understands.
Notice how the writer doesn’t paint a fake picture full of roses and unicorns. She transitions to reality with “To be blunt honest… life can throw you in the mud a thousand times”. (Don’t be fake!)
- Letter to a Distressed Friend
This letter excels with getting the receiver to visualize and experience the better days ahead. The vivid imagery and emotive words create the experience as if it already happened. And science shows that visualization is as real as actual events to your brain!
One Final Tip for
Creating Letters to Encourage
When you’re preparing your message, pay special attention to the ending.
Studies show that people judge experiences mostly from how they felt at the end. It’s called the “peak-end rule”.
When you craft your message, spend considerable effort to include a pep talk at the end. Embolden them, build them up, and slap them out of their emotional apathy.
Use words to overwhelm them with intense feelings of power, confidence, and ability.
Right now, do me a favor…
Sit down at your desk, open up a Word doc, and galvanize someone with encouragement, passion, and verve!