Let me start out by saying, there is no hidden agenda here. No one is telling you to defy authority or ignore the ideas and opinions of others. Encouragementology is about the road to self-discovery, healing yourself, and helping others. When you find your place in the world and your voice, you can encourage and make a measurable impact. You have a lot to say, and feel, and do. Staying in touch with who you are and what’s important to you is paramount in leading a satisfying life. Dare I say happy? Yes, you deserve happiness no matter what. Happiness doesn’t happen when you put our head in the sand and turn a blind eye but it does happen when you listen to your heart as a guide.
I don’t need to reiterate the fact that we are living in some unforeseen times. It’s impossible to get informed without getting influenced; feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. You can’t turn around without statistics, updated totals, aggravated news headlines, and angry opinions being shoved in your face. For many, they’ve made the choice to unplug and go on a Facebook diet but it’s still the topic of every conversation. It’s hard to escape and you feel guilty for wanting to.
There seems to be an overwhelming need to do something, anything but the problems that exist seem too big and overwhelming themselves. We’re at an impasse and for many, a standstill. Worry, anger, despair, frustration consume us and we feel too small and insignificant to do anything. But if you don’t do something positive then that’s as good as doing something negative; and the pressure keeps mounting.
How do you feel? What is important to you? What are you afraid of? Don’t think about the surface level answer but dive down deeper. Ultimately, what are you afraid of?
So much of what we think and feel on the surface is about acceptance. That’s completely normal. Everyone wants to be liked and accepted. You might be at a new job trying to fit in, part of a new family, attending a new school, or settling into a new community. Before you stake your claim and put up your flag it’s normal to sit back and observe the culture to see what’s important to everyone else.
It’s even normal to start adopting the practices and beliefs as a part of belonging. Let’s say you move to a rural area where hunting is a normal part of life, or you are adopting a new culture in a different part of the world. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone and share, learn and grow.
But when you lose your ability to listen to your heart as a way to please others, it’s time to right the course on your journey to self-discovery.
We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who make a brighter day so let’s start giving. I’ve been a little obsessed with this song lately. At first, the words came to me and I thought it was important to listen to them as a reminder that we do have the power to make a change, and then watching the video again transported me back to a simpler time in my life. At that moment, it provided some much-needed comfort.
Let’s climb up to our higher vantage point for a minute. Sometimes it’s critical to get an aerial view of the challenges we are facing to find a different perspective. Information and opinion overload is like being blindfolded, spun around, and handed a bat. We can just start hacking away in frustration and because we feel like it’s our only option.
You have POWER! Never forget that. You can lead a march AND you can help the person next to you. The one who’s problems might have been overshadowed with the state of the world but still so very important to them. Reaching out and letting some know you see them and you hear them can make all the difference.
It’s important that we don’t get lost in the shuffle when our voices can’t be heard over the crowd. You are important and you matter. You have an opportunity to listen to your heart and those you encounter. Connect, understand, and encourage.
A practice within Encouragementology is; Here’s Your CUE. It stands for Connect, Understand, and Encourage. You might have heard me reference more than once. I gave it an acronym to help it stick and make it tangible. It’s simply a reminder of something so obvious it bears repeating.
Step outside of yourself and your own issues and connect with someone. Notice the world around you and try and empathize with another human being. It could be an elderly person who needs a kind face and an ear to talk to. It could be a single mother struggling to make it all work and keep her sanity. It could be a divorced Father trying to navigate life and learning all by himself. It could be a youth confused and frustrated by the pressures of the world and not feeling as if they measure up.
Don’t like a post or leave a comment. If you feel that’s the only way to break the ice, send a message but be prepared to do more. We need human connection and even in a time when it may seem impossible, go out of your way to reach out.
Next is understanding. Be willing to listen without judgment or advice. Just be there for someone. Open your mind and most importantly, your heart. True connections are made, heart to heart. Active listening takes practice and discipline. Listening without creating your own story in your mind or shifting the focus to problem-solving. Just listen to the story and ideas as they unfold.
When it’s appropriate, offer words of encouragement. I say appropriate because it’s natural to want to solve someone’s problems and rush to get them over a hump. Words of encouragement can come off as a battle cry and rallying for the finish line if delivered too early. People need a chance to talk through the challenge and formulate a solution when they feel ready.
Then simply, letting someone know you heard them and you believe in them can make all the difference. I know YOU can do it! Breathing these types of sentiments into the wings of someone grounded may be all it takes to give flight. I know YOU can do it!
You might be thinking, yeah yeah but I always make the wrong decision. Nothing ever works out in my favor. I’m always on the losing end. Blanket statements using generalizations mean you miss the details. The ones that spell out the time you won. The time you hit the nail on the head. When the forces of nature had you in their current and life was going your way.
It’s easy to overlook the good when the bad hits hard. But take a moment right now. Close your eyes. Put your hand on your heart and take in a deep breath. Hold it. Now slowly let it out. As you exhale, let all the negative and pent up frustration leave your body. Push out all the questions left unanswered and the wrongs that can’t be made right. Drain your body of anger and despair.
Now, sit quietly with this empty feeling. This peaceful, easy feeling. Before you take in a big breath, sucking in all the stress, anxiety, and weight of the world, be mindful. You own your body and your mind and you choose what goes in it. It’s ok to take a day off and back away from the chaos to regain your barrings. You need a moment to reconnect with yourself and your own feelings and to listen to your heart.
Each day, you choose. Begin your day reminding yourself of who is in charge. As your morning begins and you start absorbing all that is around you, pick your path. Avoid toxic conversations, pass up the chance to validate someone else’s opinion, and don’t forget, negative media is a choice. Unplug and turn off.
Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s empowering.
If you want to share Encouragementology with a friend who needs to know they are not alone in this journey of self-discovery, you can visit encouragementology.com or anywhere you stream your content to receive this episode and all others. Follow us on Facebook for additional encouragement throughout the week!
CHALLENGE: Turn down the chaos and turn up the volume on your inner voice. Your thoughts, ideas, and opinions matter. Instead of persuading someone else, convince yourself. Listen to your heart and let it guide your day.
I Know YOU Can Do It!