Appreciate • Encourage • Embolden • Instill
Why is it that I struggle to believe that I am a worthy, useful, hopeful person? Yet I adamantly buy into I am worthless, useless, and hopeless, despite the ample evidence to disprove the later.
I have this fun quirky habit where I look up words in a dictionary that I already know. The word that I looked up this time was “encourage.” This lead me to the synonym “embolden” then to “instill.” See the last paragraph of this story if you want to read the definitions. But don’t leave! I hope this will be one of the most encouraging things you’ll read today.
The reason why I thought this was so interesting, “instill” literally means “drop by drop.” This made me think of all the times I have been hooked up to I.V.’s at the hospital. Being bored out of my mind watching the fluid in the I.V. bag go “drop by drop” in the drip chamber, than eventually to my bloodstream. I believe encouragement specifically words of encouragement, fill up our soul drop by drop. I think kind words are the I.V.'s for our souls.
Hear me out on this. When was the last time someone told you something encouraging like “I appreciate you?” If never before, someone has now said it to you. I appreciate you! I don’t have to personally know you to appreciate you. It means “to grasp the nature, worth, quality or significance.” I believe in your worth as a person. I believe in your significance. I can believe it for you until you can. Better yet, when was the last time you told yourself you appreciate yourself? It is okay to like yourself. It is okay to tolerate your failures. It is okay to be proud of your accomplishments. Sometimes my biggest accomplishment in the day is getting out of bed to check the mail.
Give yourself some credit.
Life gets hard at times, if you are reading this, this is published in the section where life tends to be harder than it is for other people. Trust me, I know that it is not easy. I fight that fight too, everyday.
Life on earth for people like us is already difficult. We only make life harder when we don't allow room for our short comings. Our culture is filled with intolerance. So I have a challenge for you, it's the "tolerant challenge." Right here in this moment, I want you to be tolerant with yourself. Accept something positive that you did today. And give yourself a pat on the back. It could be anything big or small. Did you hold a door open for someone? Did you smile at someone? Or maybe you thought of doing something that was positive but fear and anxiety held you back. Whatever that positive thing was, I hope you will receive that as evidence that you are not a bad person. In fact I believe that you are more of a good person than a bad person. You see, trauma distorts how we see our selves and the world around us. It makes it hard to believe that we are a better person then we think.
I can hear the arguments now; “but I did this thing” or “I didn’t do that thing.” If you only know about, fill in the blank ____.
Guess what. I still believe in you! Even with that all that baggage. If getting through the month is too overwhelming, then focus on getting through the week. If the week is to overwhelming, then focus on getting through the day. If the day is too overwhelming, then focus on getting through the hour or the minute or even just a second. You have already made it this far.
When I sat down to write, I had a completely different message in mind. I guess everything I just said is stuff I needed to hear for myself today. Anyways here are the definitions that I said I would put at the end. All definitions came from Merriam-Webster. (2003). (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
Please note I did not include the whole definition of the words below.
appreciate: to grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance of.
encourage: to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope: synonym embolden.
embolden: to instill with boldness or courage.
instill: to cause to enter drop by drop.