I believe I am a natural, born encourager. It’s just something that I don’t have to work at – it’s a very real part of me. And this topic of encouragement hits close to home right now as I am transitioning and I know several other people who are going through BIG transitions as well. Though encouraging others may not come as natural for you, we all can learn to do it with some helpful tips. We have already talked about encouraging our spouse during transitions so today we’ll explore how to encourage the other people in our sphere of influence – these peeps are our friends; co-workers; family members; neighbors; co-laborers in Christ; etc. I tend to get more creative when I am encouraging these groups of people.
For me encouraging others is fun because there are so many different ways to do it. The most obvious way to encourage people is verbally - I mention this in the post I wrote about encouraging your spouse. This is an immediately satisfying way of encouraging others, for both giver and receiver. And we have already talked about being positive and focusing on what we are grateful for in Day #8’s post of mine so once that is a habit, verbal encouragement will flow out of your heart and mouth so much easier.
When verbal encouragement isn't possible, due to the distances that separate us and/or our busy lifestyles, than this is when modern technology comes into play. Whenever I think of someone I almost immediately send them a text if they are texting types. I usually just say, “I was thinking about you today and praying that your day is going well.” Or, I personalize it more by mentioning something specific about them or what they are going through at the moment. The text doesn't have to be long or require much of a response – just a simple “You are on my mind” text is easy to send and means so much to the recipient. I know this because I have been on the receiving end of these texts a lot over the past few months. I especially love the texts I get from my really fun friends that include photos of what they are doing at that moment or who they are with. My faves are the pet and kid photos!!! Being silly, and thinking of someone, can really help encourage them because they know that they are not alone in their transition and it makes them laugh. I do the same thing with Facebook – I just post a quick note on a friend’s FB wall so they know that I am thinking about them.
E-mails are also a great way to encourage someone, especially our older generations who may not be on Facebook or using texts to communicate. I want to get better in this area as we have at least a handful of people not on FB who don’t know my daily comings and goings like those who are my FB friends!
(This green package was sent to me by my generous friend, Gloria, with hair products inside.)
However, my absolute favorite way to encourage people is via snail mail. You know, this is the fun mail that comes through your mailbox – that “catch all”, oddly shaped box that usually only holds bills and junk mail! Yes, that’s a mailbox and it loves getting fun, snail mail just like you do!!!!Sending snail mail can seem overwhelming or time-consuming but it’s a great way to get creative if you enjoy that sort of thing. You can stroll through a card store or the card section at most retailers and find the perfect card that SCREAMS “You mean the world to me!” or you can create your own cards at home or with friends.
Many of us are familiar with creating cards through beautiful stamps using matching ink and paper. I also have friends who are fabulous photographers so they use their very own images to create cards – either by printing the photos and attaching them to blank cards, and selling them in their Etsy store, like my friend, Lacey. Or they create a card, on-line, that can be sent with their own “artwork” on it.
(My very creative SIL, Kat, created this beautiful card.)
I have discovered an easy, time saving, less expensive way to do this through a Contact Manager program that is part of a system called SendOutCards (SOC). I will tell you up front that I am a distributor for SOC so if you check out the link and sign up for a monthly subscription, I will make money. I share this option as I know time and money are very important resources that a lot of us don’t have extra of but we all still want to stay in touch and encourage our loved ones. So I love recommending SOC to people I know, just like I would recommend a great movie or a fabulous place to eat. Check out the SendOutCards system here and let me know if you have any questions or need help. You can send a couple cards for free from my personal site so take advantage of that opportunity to encourage someone in your life who is going through a transition right now!!
(My friend Jenny created this card in her SOC system.)
Do you still send snail mail? If so, who did you send your last card or note to and why?
If you are a fan of showing gratitude and focusing on the positive aspects of life I will be taking part in a Gratitude Challenge for the month of November and I’d love for you to join me. I did this two years ago and it was amazing. Please join me in sharing gratitude with the world during the month known for THANKSGIVING!!!