Recently, I was told that I am a great encourager. I immediately smiled because, for me, this is the best encouragement of all. More and more, as I journey to discover what my purpose is, my gifts are, and where those gifts are best placed, I often come back to the idea of encouraging others. In the process of lifting others up, listening to their struggles, and, when asked, offering suggestions or ideas for growth, I feel the most at home in myself. This is who I am meant to be–the champion of the lonely, unheard, and unseen. The motivator of the stuck, the uncertain, the guide for someone on beginning a journey similar to ones I have walked.

Encouragement for others can also serve as a way to encourage ourselves. When we speak into the fears and doubts and uncertainties of those around us, we begin to hear these same words toward our own doubts, fears, and uncertainties. We can learn to be encouraging to ourselves by encouraging others. We can learn to care for ourselves by caring for others. Often we see our own struggles in the lives of others before we recognize them in our own lives, but something compels us to act, to speak into, to encourage.

Cheering other people along their own journeys of health, spirituality, or recovery, reminds me that I am not alone in my own similar journeys. I am learning that you don’t have to have it all figured out to encourage, support, and share insights with others. Sometimes it’s helpful to be a little further along in the journey, but that is not a requirement either. It just takes a willingness to be honest and open about your own journey and what you are learning through the process.

I am not the perfect parent, caregiver, wife, mentor, or friend, but I can be an encouraging one. And you can too!

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