Think about the hardest day of your life, and how it felt.
…Maybe you sobbed, uncontrollably. Maybe you stayed in bed for six weeks straight in pants with an elastic waistband – to accommodate the mass amount of Ben and Jerry’s you’ve consumed. Maybe you found a new love for reading motivational quotes on Pinterest. Maybe you developed a stronger relationship with your cat. Maybe you developed a stronger relationship with God.
Think about a holiday in which you received a gift you were unsatisfied with.
…Maybe your grandma gave you a hideous sweater. Maybe you worked really hard to make your significant-other a sentimental homemade gift, and all they gave you was a dish towel in return. Maybe you thought you were getting diamond earrings for your birthday, but they were cubic zirconia. Maybe your parents couldn’t afford to buy you anything at all.
Needless to say, the human condition is ridden with inevitable experiences of disappointment and sorrow. Hardship strikes us all at different moments and in different ways.
Thus, I urge you to think about a time someone uplifted you; think about the power of encouragement.
…Maybe a stranger saw you crying, and asked if you were OK. Maybe your best friend dragged you out of bed, and said “let’s go somewhere fun today.” Maybe your mom stopped by with some soup and some advice. Maybe a stranger gave you a compliment in passing. Maybe a teacher praised you for your outstanding work. Maybe you praised a teacher for their positive influence on your life. Maybe someone recognized greatness in you that you couldn’t see in yourself.
Encouragement is a powerful gift. It defies holidays, relationships, and financial constraints. It can be given by any person, to any person, at no cost. It can be between strangers, family, friends, or lovers. It can be given on a random date, and it can be given on a special occasion. Unlike material items, words of affirmation rarely disappoint; they can change someone’s entire day, even an entire life.
Always remember those who have encouraged you and raised your spirits. More importantly, be that person for someone else. Sometimes the smallest embers of hope go a long way.