The root of encouragement is the French word coeur, for heart. To encourage is to put the heart back into someone, to help each other live well and live together. We were created for love and community. Yet we live in a competitive world that discourages us, telling us all the ways we don't measure up and why we need this product or that service to overcome our inadequacies. There is a great emphasis on what we lack; the messages in the media are rooted in fear and manipulation. What we need is the courage to claim our own lives, to have the confidence to live with resolution, vitality, and purpose.
I used to be so worried about what others thought. Others are thinking--but not about me. I had a million scenarios playing in my mind, created by a judgmental inner censor telling me everything that I was doing wrong. We judge ourselves harshly for being different, call our uniqueness failure, and see our struggles as a collection of symptoms needing diagnosis, prescription, and cure.
What if we decide to see our "shortcomings" in a different light? What if we give ourselves permission to be unique, instead of playing an assigned role that doesn't fit? What if we allow ourselves to honor our true natures, to listen to the goodness and wisdom that reside deep in our hearts?
I believe that we are all creative, that we all deserve to be encouraged in our endeavors, and that every person can learn to cultivate his or her own uniqueness. Everyone must eventually choose between sterile conformity and listening to their inner wisdom. Everyone comes to a crossroads where they must decide either to honor their individuality or to stay in the constricting box of cultural expectations. Every person has the potential to find a community of like-minded people and to create a matrix of safety and encouragement for personal and collective growth and creativity.
From the book
The Art of Encouragement
by Candy Paull
Have a lovely weekend!