Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Passion to Encourage

I believe that an important part of passionate living is pursuing the things that make our hearts sing. Passionate living means creating the time to pursue a love of words, finding the funds to pursue a love of travel, being intentional in the habits that we form. I believe that passionate living requires us to use our minds as well as follow our hearts. To acknowledge our own core values and intentionally pursue living out those values. This post is about one of my core values. ~ Relyn

Mark Twain said, "I could live for two months on a good compliment." As usual, he hit the nail squarely on the head. What most of us need, even long for, is acknowledgment. We want to be appreciated. We ache to be noticed.

Think about the morning after a new hair cut. Think of the way you try to talk yourself out of waiting breathlessly for someone to notice. Think of the slightly deflated feeling when no one does. Remember the delight when one observant, thoughtful someone actually mentions it. Noticing is such an easy joy to give away.

But this post isn't just about compliments. Compliments are one of the easiest ways to offer encouragement, but there is so much more. We can offer a smile to a sour face, carry a bag for an over-loaded shopper, give a sincere compliment to a stranger, a friend, a child. Leave a big tip when we're feeling flush. Write a note to someone going through a hard time. Mail it. Email it. Leave it on their desk. Take a meal to a new mother or a friend with a sick child, parent, spouse... The next time you buy yourself a candy bar, buy one for a co-worker. Leave it on their desk with a smiley face post it note.

The most important ingredient in encouragement is noticing. I think we have to cultivate a habit of noticing the people around us. Who looks happy? Ask them why. Give them a chance to share their story. Who looks sad? Take a moment. Tell them you are thinking of them. Offer to listen, or help, or pray, or hug. Who has a new hair cut, a new outfit, a new shade of lipstick? Tell them you noticed. Tell them you like it. Whose mother is in the hospital? Send a card. To your friend. And their mother. Who is having a birthday? Don't forget that card. Call their house when you know they aren't home. Sing The Birthday Song on their answering machine. Tie a balloon to their car's side view mirror. Like a book, or a photograph, or an article? Write a fan letter. Whose child was just in the newspaper or played an amazing game? Tell them you saw it, heard it, watched it. Say, "You must be so proud."

And listen. You have to listen. To be an encourager you must listen.

You must listen. And notice. And take the time to do something about it.

What if we all did this? Even just once a day? What if we all encouraged one person every single day? What kind of world would we live in? The lesson ends like this:
"You just winked at a very plain looking woman," I said.

"Yes, I know," he replied. "And, if she's a schoolteacher, her class will be in for a fantastic day."

Ain't it the truth?

A compliment feels just like being handed a bouquet of flowers. Le bouquet by nicouze, here.
The story excerpt by Art Buchwald, Looking Out, Looking In.


beth said...

this was SO GREAT and written perfectly !

isn't it amazing that that's all we really want and be noticed !

it's so HUGE yet most of fail at the giving of this simple thing towards others...

I'm off right now to make a difference in someone's day !

Ragamuffin Gal said...

Relyn ~ I absolutely adore this post! And it was a wonderful word for me to read today! I hope you are out living life passionately with your fellow adventurer. I am off to fuel my passion now! Love and Blessings, me

Jessica said...

I love that last's so nice to be noticed and to notice others. Actually I don't know which is better!

Tabitha and Family said...

This was SO up my alley Relyn! This is what I strive to do daily. you are so right when you said "You must listen. And notice. And take the time to do something about it."

Excellent Relyn!!

spread your wings said...

what a wonderful post. i smiled realizing you are so perceptive - i bet, even virtually, you can sense when someone needs that extra little bit of attention.

to notice - yes what a simple thing we can do to make others feel special. thank you for this reminder to listen, notice and do something about it.

Christina said...

When I began reading this post, all I could think of was my husband. He is the most loving and kind hearted person I know, He has taught me to "notice" by noticing the smallest thing about me. After 21 years of marriage, I never get tired of him showing me new ways to show love or extend my hand.

"Hey beautiful" he says to our 88 year old neighbor each day.

A smile I show to the other train riders. A seat offered to someone, who is more in need of it, than me.

A little noticing, goes such a long way.

Patti said...

This post was just perfect! My favorite Eeyore quote is "thanks for noticing me" and from an Eeyorish type of persona's standpoint- being noticed does make a HUGE difference! Thanks for posting about this.

The Feathered Nest said...

Relyn...this post makes me swell with love and smile!!!! You are so very right dear friend! If only business managers would realize this oh-so-important factor and key to human nature that we all need just a little building up...and then...we would shoot for the stars!!! I haven't forgotten sweetie about my thing ~ have a wonderful Sunday, xxoo, Dawn

dutchbaby said...

Relyn, I absolutely love this post! The fact that you chose encouragement as your passion speaks volumes about who you are. That is why you are so loved and why you are born to be a teacher. To distill the essence of encouragement into the core ingredient of noticing is simply brilliant. xxxoxo

caren said...

it only takes a moment to notice and say something - but can mean the world to someone else. Why don't we do that more often? Thanks for reminding us. You are wonderful!

Derrick said...

Hello Relyn,

Most people would claim to be too busy to notice things, any things, but it is one of the simplest things to do and many of us just don't - me included! Thanks for the reminder.

I have really enjoyed reading about your and your friends' passions so far. It is a great idea to have guest bloggers and I notice a few people are picking it up.

Scribbit said...

What a fabulous quote from Twain--it is SO true. Giving compliments is so important.

Write On Thyme said...

I just wanted to tell you that I couldn't help but notice how lovely your header with the photos is and thought I would share. Also love your comments being called "Fireside Chats"! Your detail to 'feel good' things for others is inspiring. You are now on my list of favorites.

Laura said...

I heartily endorse this post!!!! I try to do this myself and it is very rewarding to me and the noticee!!! Also, I have been on the receiving end of noticing lately and it has been a Godsend.

dulcy said...

Thanks for your sweet compliments on my blog. I miss you!


heartshapedmorning said...

you are so right about this! noticing and encouraging are so important to me. and because i know what a difference acknowledgment can make, i try to acknowledge others as much as possible. it's so easy to forget to do that for the people we love. thank you for this post.

paris parfait said...

Really seeing someone is such a big, important deal. Very wise words!

Jeanie said...

I couldn't agree more. So many times we don't look, we don't listen. We act, not react. And when we DO listen and notice, it truly can change lives, maybe even save one.

And isn't that the best?

JUST ME said...


such a WONDERFUL post.

YOU are a fantastic writer.


Elizabeth said...

oh, I just love this post. It is such a good reminder. I wish I could imprint the message in my heart so it would always be with me.

Maithri said...

Ok, you're gonna have to tell me where you live, cos i'm comin over ;)

What a joy it is to call you friend,

You are my definition of 'Beautiful'.


Jaime said...

Ok I know I am really REALLY late in reading this post, but what a serendipitous thing for me to read it today of all days. I recently returned to my mountain after a long break. I have been there all week, but today I really felt connected again for the first time since I returned. I found my silent spaces and connected with all that was around me....and the one question I was asking myself the whole time was, What can I do to give more?

Thank you Relyn. This was perfect.

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