I've seen this principle over and over again with my
high school students, so much so that I've worked hard to
make it a habit to share encouragement rather than
criticism, to listen to needs rather than to give
expectations and judgments. When people hear sincere
encouragement--not cheerleading or the loud, enthusiastic
"you can do it!"--they start to believe in
themselves and in their abilities to do things that they
might have doubted previously.
We all have the ability to share such encouragement and
understanding every day of our lives. And we can
contribute to the positive side of the world and start
watching the extraordinary things start to happen as a
result of our action, and it's one of the most wonderful
feelings in the world to see those results.
The problem is that very often, the ways that other people
act make us want to put them in their place more than they
want us to encourage them or understand them. What
becomes truly important is our decision to be the kind of
person who decides to fill our days with encouragement and
understanding of others, rather than with judgment or
simply ignoring others.
People always need encouragement, whether we recognize
that need or not. And we can make great things
happen, whether we actually witness those great things or
not--very often they may show up long after we're
gone. But that's okay--we know that we can
contribute positively to the lives of others through our
actions, and if we know this, we should simply do so.