Be a Cheerleader: The beauty of affirmations, validation, and encouragement

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Yesterday I received an email that made my day. I'd sent an essay to a friend and asked for his feedback, and he'd responded quickly. His first line gave me a rush of joy.

"I am blown away by your writing skill, and your ability to be vulnerable and strong at the same time."

He went on to praise my gift for writing and thank me for sharing my work. By the end of the note, I was beaming with gratitude.

My friend could have just told me the essay was good, and I would have been pleased. But instead, he'd taken the time to be explicitly kind and encouraging.

It got me thinking about the other cheerleaders in my life. From my friends' Facebook comments to my weekly visits with my writing partner to greeting card wishes, I cherish their uplifting remarks. 

In my volunteer time with Stephen Ministry, we are trained to give each other regular affirmations. At first it sounded funny to say "Good job" or "You are an important part of this group," but when I was on the receiving end of these statements, I couldn't help but smile and feel loved.

This cheerleading attitude can happen at home with your family, at work with your colleauges, or in the community with our neighbors. 

My sister and her husband are just finishing construction on a new house for which they hired all the subcontractors themselves. Many of the contractors worked overtime and helped with extra tasks, so my sister made an effort to thank them personally. When I visited with her later, we both agreed, "A litte appreciation goes a long way."

I've started to save my cheeleaders' words, both in my memory and in a digital file, like you'd save money in a bank for later withdrawal. You can bet the next time I doubt my writing skill, I'll open my friend's email and be filled with encouragement.

Compliments and affirmations are the ultimate renewable resource. When you're having a rough day or being self-critical, you can always return to the bank for a reminder of who you are in the world.

Who are your cheerleaders? How can you start "banking" their words?

How can you be a cheerleader for your family, friends, and community?


    Last month’s Doorways:

    • We took one last trail ride in the mountains on a sunny, autumn day. The golden colors and brisk air were beautiful.

    • I found a wad of cash that I had stashed away and forgotten. Taking it as a sign from The Universe, I used it to buy a piece of art that I'd been wanting.

    • Though I had to have a virtual birthday celebration with my family, their gifts and my husband's cooking made me feel special and loved.

    • My first niece was born last week, and I am in love! I was grateful for my sister's video calls from the hospital, so I could see and hear the baby.


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