The Power Of Encouraging Words – The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Reading time: 4 minutes

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If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God. ~ G. K. Chesterton

I love this Encourager series.  You get to meet or re-greet amazing wonderful beings who shine their light so brightly for the rest of us that we’re always bathed in brilliance.

Let’s give a great big welcome to today’s guest ~ the dazzling Vidya Sury.

I am delighted to be here, Elle! Thank you!

One kind word of encouragement, one smile and one hug at the right time can be life-changing. I am always amazed at how it takes so little to put a smile on someone’s face and raise their spirits.

“Yelling at living things does tend to kill the spirit in them. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.”  Robert Fulghum

So true. Let me share an inspiring story with you.

As a group of frogs traveled through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. The other frogs peeked in and told these two that they were as good as dead as it was impossible to come out. Ignoring the discouragement, these two frogs tried to jump out any way. A while later, one of the frogs, lost its spirit in the constant discouragement and gave up…and died. The second frog kept on jumping. The more the others commented, the harder he tried. Finally, he jumped out!

“Didn’t you hear us?” asked the frogs.

“I am a little deaf. I thought you were cheering me on”, answered the frog.    

Moral of the story? Yes! Encouraging words can make the difference between life and death, success and failure.  They can go a very long way, influencing the individual for years to come.

An encouraging word steered my career

I used to have a boss who literally changed my life. He made me believe I could do anything. He made me feel I was the best. From being nervous about whether sales/marketing was the right career for me, I became a big achiever in that organization.

What he did was simple. Each day when we returned from our day on the field, he would sit us down and intently listen to our experiences, praising us far more than we needed to be with even minor victories. He helped us analyze what went wrong and how we could avoid it in future. He would make us recall all our achievements in minute detail – what a surge of endorphins that was! And we would go out, walking on air! To this day, I am grateful for this “therapeutic process” and practice it with others, too. In fact, I was so taken up with making people feel good, I progressed into being a Sales Trainer specializing in positive communication. All because of the reinforcement I received.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Giving the gift of encouragement

I am lucky I was raised by my Mom who always assured me I was good enough and had the choice to feel good, or otherwise. This inspirational message is my motto. Her words, “Be kind, be loving, keep smiling” still ring in my ears. There are times when we don’t feel like, but doing it anyway definitely helps. She had a huge sense of humor and never allowed me to dwell over an unpleasant experience or negative emotion after I talked about it. She pushed me to purge it out of my system and spend my precious energy on productive activities.

I strongly believe in life’s balance. While I had an unusual family situation, I was lucky to grow up with my Grandma, a remarkable person and the epitome of serenity. When I had doubts about my ability, she would say softly, “Of course you can do it” and this helped me sail through most situations, as long as I did not let my inner critic take over.

My friends were no less – I am always grateful to them for helping me build my self-confidence  with their constant “Yes, you can! We know you can do it! Go for it!” I’ve known some of them for over 40 years now, which is saying a lot, considering I am going to say hello to the big five-o tomorrow.

Positive reinforcement brings big benefits to the giver and the recipient. Some I can think of right away, are:

  • It keeps us going, making us achieve things we would not have thought possible on our own
  • Makes you feel better
  • Everyone needs someone – I have my friends, family and peers
  • We have the power to empower others – just a kind word, a touch, a smile can transform someone’s life!
  • Dissolves self-doubt 
  • It makes a difference between life and death, as we saw from the story of the frogs. I know of people who were suicidal, but let go of the idea thanks to an encourager.
  • Builds self-esteem
  • You start loving yourself more 

Let me share a few ways to encourage others

  • When I notice something nice, I mention it. I like being descriptive, specifying what I liked.
  • When I introduce people, after the name exchange, I say something nice about them. “This is Elle Sommer. She’s an amazing writer and her blog posts are so motivating they make my day!”
  • When I receive great service from someone, I let the establishment know…at the restaurant, at the office.
  • When I hear a great suggestion, I acknowledge and let the person know how it helped.
  • When I get together with a group of coworkers/friends/family, I remember to praise something they did and let everyone know. Group cheer is great!
  • I avoid talking down to people. I prefer to talk UP to them. Not “Oh, I should have known you would (nasty stuff)” Instead “You probably know this, but may I suggest you …”
  • I am kind when I see someone feeling low. I say something nice. If they attempted something and didn’t get the result they wanted, I praise their effort.
  • I say thanks whenever I can. You’ve no idea how it can boost someone’s spirits. This includes the lift operator, the security guard, the plumber, the guy at the ticket counter, the bus driver… and everyone else we take for granted.

I really could go on and on…but you know what I mean.

It is easy to praise someone who feels low by reminding them of how well they did something, automatically motivating them to do their best, because now they believe they “can”.

Guess what? When you practice this, your actions might inspire others to do the same. How rewarding is that!

Go ahead. Change the world. Make a difference in someone’s life. Live a life of purpose. You know you can.

Now, I have an invitation for you:

Can you think of a time when someone’s words changed the course of your life? Or have your words made a difference in someone’s actions or life? If not, find someone and encourage them this week. Share your experience with me via email to let me know and I’ll feature it on my blog in a post.

Would love to hear your story in the comments.

To quote Elle, Encourage one another.

 

Vidya Sury is a happy Mom, Freelance Writer and Blogger, aspiring author and social media explorer.

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She views the world through pink colored spectacles, coated with compassion and believes in giving more than she takes. Love is her currency. She loves her work writing, her coffee, friends, family, DIY craft, books, music, cooking and photography. Her hobbies are collecting smiles and inspiring happiness. She is working on finding the cure for infobesity.

She blogs at Vidya Sury, Coffee With Mi and Your Medical Guide and tweets as @vidyasury e-mail vidya@vidyasury.com

ElleSommer
Elle Sommer is the author and founder of Live Purposefully Now, a website focused on sharing the insights and ancient wisdom that have collectively changed her life, in the desire to make a meaningful impact on yours. Trained at Coach U and having completed a year long training with Bob Proctor, her mission is to encourage and inspire others to build the business, relationships and life they want. Get your free instant access to Success Simplified ebook and get the tips, techniques and secrets of successfully living the life you want.

45 Comments

  • Vidya, what a magnificent post! Thank you so much Elle for sharing this! This made my day! You know, when one yells and says bad, negative things to a glass of water, the water’s molecular structure decomposes and the molecules break apart. Image how we feel, as we are 70% water. If you bless your food and speak well to the water you drink before drinking it, it will do you more good and nourish your body and keep you well.

    Alas, we who have been raised of environments of fear where yelling and screaming was the norm bloomed late and had to figure everything on our own. We had clothes, food and shelter, but that is not enough to thrive as a person. We are kind of emotionally handicapped from our parents’ rearing, my sisters and I, even how we speak to each other is not so good. You are very lucky and blessed for your wonderful family, Vidya. any advice on how to best deal with mine, even though since reading these blogs, things have gotten way better; I just cringe sometimes when things go back to how they were. I try to maintain my vibration, you know? Guess that is what is best to do, just rise above it.
    Blessings to all!

    • Dear A, I know exactly what you mean. In fact, your mention of “water experiment” reminded me of Dr.Masaru Emoto ‘s famous experiment.
      My family was less than perfect. There were a lot of shake-ups resulting in my studying in 5 schools and three cities before I finished my 10th grade. My Mother had to take a lot of crap, being a single Mother is not easy in India – or anywhere else for that matter, I am guessing. Some days, we did not get enough to eat. Yet she was always cheerful. There were times I thought, what is wrong with her? And of course, when I asked her, she said – if no one encourages you, you must encourage yourself. She read a lot. She was a school teacher for over 45 years. She said spending time with the children and looking at others, encouraged her. All she had to do was think of good things whenever things were less than perfect. It made a lot of sense to me. Self-help is powerful, A. I know your situation is going to be better. If it will help – I know sometimes we only need a listening ear – please feel welcome to email me – vidya at vidyasury dot com. Hugs to you, and thank you so much for your wonderful comment.

      • Thank you so much Vidya. Will do.
        That was quite an inspiring story. Your mom is a light worker and those children were so blessed to have her as a teacher, as were you and all who came across her path!
        Blessings to you, my dear and thanks again!

    • Vidya is amazing A and I’m so happy and honoured to have her be a guest author…maybe we can talk her into coming back in the near future. I’m also happy to hear how things in your world are improving since you started reading blog posts. Immersing ourselves in high, encouraging energies most certainly takes us back to our source, which is blazing, bright brilliance.

      I invest at least fifteen minutes each and every day immersing myself in uplifting and inspiring ‘stuff’ – it’s food for my soul. We all need our ‘soul food’ whatever that is to us.

      As always thanks for your always thoughtful comments. Love having you as part of our wonderful global community. 🙂

  • ah my inner critic. sometimes i’m so sure she’s right, but then I have a chat with you two ladies and i realize my inner critic is a very very silly woman. thanks to you both for always encouraging me in everything I do. And happy almost birthday Vidya!

    • Hi Vanita, isn’t Vidya just the greatest? And of course you, my amazing SEO internet queen, no-one rocks it like you do. 🙂 It’s so great to see you here and the encouraging words are gratefully received. 🙂

  • This is such a lovely post, Vidya! It is so very true, instruction does much, but encouragement everything!! Words matter and positive and encouraging words can transform lives. Truly, this is the best gift we can give to anybody! Thanks for sharing some wonderful pointers too! 🙂

  • A positive word uttered with faith and sincerity has more effect than thousand negative words put together . Vidya you have always been an encouraging and positive person, whether it be about my blogs or Ezine articles. A lovely post .Aslo a big thank you Elle 🙂

  • As always, a brilliant post!
    Things you mentioned that I do (unfortunately, not many people do it):
    1. When I receive great service from someone, I let the establishment know…at the restaurant, at the office.
    2. I say thanks whenever I can, especially to the NIPs (Not Important Persons): lift operator, security guard, … and everyone else we take for granted. (Also, if speaking in an Indian language, address them in respectful terms (aap, tumhi, neenga, ..))

    • I got the feeling that you did, Pro, from reading your blog. 🙂 Re the speaking to others, I always address everyone as “anna” (brother) or “amma” (mother) if they seem older. The youngsters are always “raja” to me.

      I am waiting for your email, you know. Thank you for coming over and commenting.

  • Dear Vidya-
    After a long trip and a hot shower, your words soothe my soul. It is amazing how one person can leave a significant imprint on your life. I was lucky enough to study and be the assistant of a well known psychologist at the university i was attending. I had plenty of self doubts about my intelligence- especially in a competitive setting- but she always worked under the assumption that of course I could do whatever it took to succeed. She opened up doors for me that otherwise would probably have remained closed. She and the dean of the college nominated me for a Rhodes Scholarship and she marched in the procession when I graduated.
    After I left university and had children, we remained in touch. But it was in her old years that our friendship grew tremendously. She was an extraordinary woman, a role model – a renegade in her field, and yet a shy person when not at work.
    I named my daughter after her – Erika. The woman who left such a deep imprint on my life – Erika Fromm ~

    Thanks for a magnificent post Vidya – and Elle thanks for hosting her. xxoo-Fran

    • What a beautiful story, Fran! My heart feels full when I hear experiences like this. My life is full of wonderful little encouragements like this, sometimes from the most unexpected sources. So sweet that you named your daughter after Erika, I can imagine the impact she had.
      Thank you so much for sharing, Fran. I always love your comments! Hugs!

    • What a great aspect of your life Fran, that I never knew about. How wonderful that you met someone who could see you for the lovely and brilliant soul that you are. Would that we would all do that for at least one person in our world. 😀

    • I took a look at your site Suzy and tried to leave a comment, but somehow couldn’t. So I thought I’d tell you here that your post about your Dad was just beautiful. 🙂

      • Thanks Vidya hugs too you too. Your posts are so inspiring. Thanks Elle for visiting my blog. My dad was an amazing man, the epitome of love and kindness. He always made everyone around him feel good. No wonder so many loved him and all who knew him always said good things about him.

  • Welcome Vidya Sury ! And thank you Elle for inviting her to your article.
    Your 8 “ways to encourage others” are priceless !
    I particularly enjoy and employ “giving thanks to people” as often I can.
    My gratitude is heart-sent and sincere and is felt by the receiver as such, and thus springs forth between us (even for a second or two) this connection spark of the One Love. Such an easy investment – such a huge return.
    Thank you !
    Write on, Elle and Vidya !

    • Hi Joseph! A pleasure to meet you. Don’t you love how easy it is to be nice? Thank you is such a simple thing, but so powerful. So many people carry on with life, doing their stuff without expecting acknowledgment and that is so sad. I loved reading your comment, especially what you said about your gratitude sparking connections. Beautiful. Thank you so much.

  • Hi Vidya

    Good deeds are not just charity or financial assistance. Making a difference in someones life with a few kind words also falls under the list of noble deeds. Lovely post.

  • That’s an excellent post, Vidya. I have told you this before and will share here as well. You amaze me a lot. I always find something of value each time I visit your written word. You are so full of positivity. Thanks for being around 🙂

    • Carmen, I love how our friendship has progressed – comfortable, easy even if we don’t interact very much… but so rich and heart-warming when we do. I do hope to meet you when you travel South. Thank you, I am so humbled by what you said! I still treasure the lovely comment you made, in November 2011 about the book I am writing. 🙂 Hugs!

  • OUr minds are so quick to judge and put things down. We usually focus on the negatives about ourselves and other people. Like water and nourishment, we need more encouragement in our lives, Vidya! I too love to let the management or owners know when I’ve received positive feedback, a positive service experience or someone going way beyond their scope of duty. I tell the person and the higher-ups of how grateful I am of the service received.

    • Vishnu, it is funny how we are tuned to accept the not so good faster than the good things. Perhaps the world has become so tough that they are disbelieving that someone would mean well for them.
      Especially for those employees who are taken for granted, letting their bosses know is a huge thing. I usually ask to speak to the boss and take the employee along, too – be it the restaurant, supermarket – wherever i visit – to make it more meaningful. I know some bosses who listen feel good, but never call the employee and appreciate them.

      Thank you, Vishnu, for your presence here today. I appreciate it very much. 🙂

  • Hello Vidya & Elle,

    A truly beautiful post, I love the frog story, that captures the essence of loving support so well.. i truly believe in spreading a little sunshine as much as possible and am blessed most of your suggestions come naturally to me. A bright smile from someone not used to a hearing thank you or the lighting up of someones face when you smile is beautiful.

    I just recently, this week, began blogging; before I had the courage to launch it, someone I met twice before found my site and wrote to me with such kind, encouraging words (having a moment just remembering) that for the first time (and the blog was begun almost 2 years previous) I shared my posts the next day. I will always remember her kindness and taking the time to write to me, I gave her a special thanks in my opt in book. You are right, it means so much, yet costs so little.

    I will share this post in all areas and spread your sunshine.
    With love & blessings, Caroline

    • Welcome Caroline and thanks for leaving such a wonderful testimonial to the spirit of encouragement. It’s so true that it leaves an indelible impression on us. At it’s essence, encouragement is all about love…and we can never have enough of that in our world. 😀

      • Hello Elle, That is it exactly, it’s all about love and the more, the merrier. Spreading a little love wherever we can is important. Have a wonderful Sunday, love your site Elle. Much love.

    • How lovely to meet you, Caroline! I loved your story. You know, I have a few readers who regularly write to me, but never actually visit my blog and comment there. I treasure those emails. Recently, one of them panicked that I had not posted for three days in a row. It felt so good. She followed it up with a phone call to find out if I was okay. It is instances like these that keep my spirits up, always. 🙂 My tendency to be cheerful comes from giving and all that I receive in return.

      Your comment is so beautiful and I appreciate your kind words very much!
      I visited your blog just before commenting here – and find your book on Self Love … the cover art is stunning and so is the book. I am half way through it. Much love to you! 🙂

      • Lovely to meet you also, Vidya. Wow, that is lovely, you obviously connect deeply with your readers. I am not surprised.

        Thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate that and your sharing of it on google +. Much, much appreciated Vidya. My first gift of my words to the world, still so much to learn but I realised if I didn’t do just do it, I may never. No looking back now! 🙂
        About to visit your blog now. Much love )

  • The frog story is one of my favourites. I’m blessed to have many encouraging voices in my life and thank you for being one of them, Vidya.

    Elle, nice to meet you via Vidya. Will be back for more. 🙂

  • Hi, a very beautiful and enlightening post. Yes, words of encouragement from someone goes a long way, life is full of challenges, trials and complications that we encounter everyday, so a word of encouragement will definitely lift up ones spirit and change the whole perspective. Thanks for sharing. Really wonderful.

    • Hi Noah. It’s so true isn’t it. We have so many critics in the world and naysayers that it’s just a ray of sunshine when we come across those who encourage and motivate the rest of us. And I know you to be in that camp my friend. 🙂

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