Growing up was hard on me. I was extremely shy (I made shy kids look like extraverts), was a little sickly, had no self-confident at all and was so afraid of literally everything. I was born full of anxiety. When I saw someone else doing something better than me, I did not react properly. Instead of being happy for that person, I became jealous.
I believe that jealousy is one of those emotions that has no redeeming qualities. One may better themselves because of a jealousy, but it’s done in a positive light.
In my early years, I chose paths that did not offer much encouragement from others. I was a real brat. I didn’t like me, how could others give enough of a care to encourage me. My family was always supportive but I was bent on self-destruction.
As I got older, wisdom finally started to seep into my self-inflicted ignorant brain. When I finally turned my life around, I started getting some more encouragement from others and it spurred me on to do better.
The problem with giving encouragement to someone ill-prepared for it, is that it is like crack. You get addicted to it and when you don’t get it all the time, you fall back into feeling like a failure.
I didn’t learn the lesson until I was much older. You do the best you can, don’t worry about what others think and you learn some self-worth because now you are actually earning it and that is a great feeling.
Then the reality hit me that there was a second side to that coin. Encouragement given to others, not just nice words of encouragement but heartfelt words meant to build others up.
I wanted to be that person, but I didn’t know how. In retrospect, it isn’t that difficult but it was not a tool in my toolbox of life lessons.
I started studying people I looked up to, mostly entertainment people at that time. I slowly learned, not only, what to do but what not to do. I learned to discern genuine from fake. I also started watching for that other elusive character trait, humility.
I’m still learning but now I realize the importance of a pat on the back to a co-worker for a job well done, or genuine enthusiasm for an accomplishment for a friend or loved one. Now, my crack is trying to build others up.
Today’s world is fueled by the demise of others. The best one wins. Then you must knock the best one off the top. Like only one person can be achieving at one time. What a horrible concept!
Now, instead of feeling jealous of others, I’m happy for them. I want people to achieve goals, I want people to want to be better with the hopes of passing it on to others.
Imagine a world, not full of empty praise, but praise for a job well done. No awards for just showing up but for giving it your best…win or lose. Yes, you can lose and still earn a genuine compliment. I’m not an advocate of empty words. The words we speak need to be real. A false sense of ones self is a house of cards, easily destroyed. A true sense of ones self is strong enough to withstand the harshest of situations.
I want to encourage the people in my life because it strengthens connections, it strengthens communities, and makes for a better human race. We need that in today’s world.