Today is World Encouragement Day! Isn’t that a joyous ideal? How do you feel about the concept of encouragement? Have you had enough of it in your life? Have you given enough of it? Can we encourage ourselves in some wise manner?

   As with so many things in life, it would be wise to think about achieving some form of balance when it comes to encouragement. The right amount at the right time ~ the right amount to the right people ~ the right amount might just be an illusive concept. How will we ever know what is the right amount? Perhaps we could think about it in terms of offering wise encouragement that empowers enough and does not allow for false hope? Perhaps a bit too much might be a loving help to a lost soul.

        In Your Lifejoy Year the readings for September are all based on the ideal of increasing our wisdom: to make consistently wise choices. To me, that’s the entire point of my coaching and counselling work ~ to encourage your Lifejoy so that you can shine ever brighter. My next book is coming soon and writing it has taught me much but I have had to encourage myself to keep going through the epic effort. However, whenever I struggle with the privilege of normal life, I recall how fortunate I am to be able to do it. Most challenges are a privilege in comparison with being very ill for a very long time.

        In the month that dominates our entrance into education, we can remember that it is always wise to recognise our many blessings in terms of access to learning. Almost all of us have been to school and have had the chances to keep learning in some form. We’ve seen our children desperate to return after lockdowns and our teachers working at an extraordinary pace to provide care for them. It is the courage, care and concern of them both that must be encouraged as much as any academic prowess.

        Three people this week have told me that their little ones have stress about school and life in general. It made me so sad that they were struggling. Often it is much worse to watch a loved one suffer than to endure it ourselves. I just listened to those parents as attentively as I could and then started to think about something we could suggest for them. On World Encouragement Day perhaps one thing to offer would be that anyone in any form of trouble can offer just a kind word to someone in a worse state. If we are shy,  we can seek out someone who is much more reserved than us and offer them a greeting or a smile or just something. As soon as we are looking to give, we are undermining the stress.

        Something else has dominated my interactions this week has been the children who are too unwell to attend a normal school day. I’ve known several with severe M.E who are house or bed-bound. They would love the luxury of shopping for school shoes and worrying about too much homework.

        Then there are the tragic situations where grieving parents are just lost in an abyss of sorrow. They would give anything to have their children driving them mad with normal, lovely life stuff. That puts everything into perspective, doesn’t it?

        Most wisdom and the coping strategies generated from it, are based on our perspective. Our perspective that it is up to us to do something to make things just a bit better ~ or at least a bit less bad, both for ourselves and others. That would be the Lifejoy day of encouraging hope. I’ll leave you with the words that generate encouragement in me when my knees are bending and my soul is shredded. Mr Williams says to me: “You’ll cope!”  Mr Dinsdale: “I know you will look after them well.” My best line to help empower your days and lives are: “May you have the wisdom to know and the courage to do.”

Be encouraged my friends. Be wise my friends. Be you. God bless.

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