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Learning the Fine Art of Encouragement

 

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Make others feel good; sounds odd, does it not, especially in this era of “self-worship” and “self-adoration”. As a very dear friend said many years ago, “I am the centrepiece, why should I step aside for you”, referring to her oldest sibling (miss Diva herself). It is hard to focus on others when we are constantly thinking of ourselves. We are all innately selfish people at heart. It is just natural. It takes a special grace to be selfless and put the interests of others above our needs. It is not that hard, if we become intentional about it. Purpose to say a kind word to one person everyday for the next week. As the days go on, you might decide to increase this to two or three people. Before you know it, it has become just a breeze for you. We have to will ourselves to do the difficult things, otherwise we will not do them at all. We know what happens then, stagnation becomes the norm. We are unable to break out of the old mold and go into uncharted waters, that of being a blessing to someone out there.

We may not be a people ordinarily given to saying good things about others (I am talking about my dear African people, if I may be so blunt). It is time we learn to compliment, encourage, and nurture others. It should roll off our tongue effortlessly. I find that with our people, even if someone likes something about you, you may never get to hear it! To avoid any misunderstanding, let me clarify my point; this is not a question of a person purposely seeking for compliments, not by any means. If you are good at something, you know it in your mind instinctively, whether people choose to give you compliments or not. You do what you have to do regardless. However, the encouragement of others will always spur us on to greater heights! It is just sad to see how “small-minded” we can be, that we find it so hard to acknowledge others when they are doing well. That is where my emphasis lies. It could be envy, shyness, awkwardness or what have you. It takes a “bigger” person, someone who is secure about themselves, or shall I say a grounded person, to rise to that level and acknowledge something good about another person. May the Lord give us that grace to rise to that place.

Yet our fellow Canadians will compliment you without batting an eyelid, “that colour looks real nice on you” (don’t get me wrong, they can be just as envious as anyone else. We are all human after all). Meanwhile, this could very well be someone who does not even know you too well, or may not even like you but they will tell you the truth. I just admire how they are able to compliment without you having to pull it out of them! So why can’t we be more like that, I wonder. Your own people who should be able to be honest with you are too busy assessing how much better you “appear” to be doing than they are. It does not matter where, secular life, church etc. If this happens in church, it becomes a matter of culture versus faith, a lot of times you see the culture first, before the faith comes into play πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. We are to rejoice with one another, genuinely 😊😊.

We need to challenge our mindset. If we keep doing the same things over and over again, we will get the same results! Here is my perspective, the good values that I grew up with in Ghana I have kept. The not so good or bad ones, I have discarded. I have incorporated the good values from our Canadian society and done away with the bad ones, and that is how I conduct my life. So that negative psyche, the PHD (Pull Him Down)/Crabs in the Bucket syndrome is not helping the African. We only have to look at some of the stuff going on in the African continent for confirmation. Even in our own backyard here, your own people will find anything to mock you about, “you have been here a long time oo”, but what does that have to do with anything? You are here too, right. Oh yes, a nice comeback for next time would be, “Where is “your” return ticket?” hahahaha. Whether you were born here or came here later, are we not all Ghanaians? You cannot get to know me because I was born here? Let us move past these trivial points and have more productive conversations because we need each other. Β We need to look past our “hang ups” and help each other, by being a good support system for one another. It is hard to have any interaction with people who think they want to be funny at your expense all the time. Aint no one got time for that, I am a serious person πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ˜œπŸ˜œ. Let’s just get on with it, shall we, be more positive, build your neighbour up.

We need to rise above our carnal nature and become vessels of encouragement for the Master’s use. What is it that you are good at? Use that gift to bless others. I am an encourager by nature. I love to see people do well, especially the young ones. Well, my story is this, for all the encouraging that I do, I do not have anyone who “really” has my back. Rather people who call themselves friends set out to bring you down rather than lift you up. Β I am still trying to understand why, however, I have ceased to care. If you think about people’s opinions you will not do anything for yourself. I think that people make me out to be something that I am not, so they feel a real need to act this way. I am really just a very simple and straight shooter type of person. My father raised me to be simple and honest with people rather than walking around putting on “airs” trying to be something I am not. The thing is, if you are the “real deal”, there is no need for you to go strutting around like a peacock. People can see, right? Why am I telling my story, it is just to show you that it has not stopped me from being a blessing to others. I find it easy to build people up with positive words rather than tear them down. There is more I could be doing, and I need to be seeking out those opportunities daily. How about you, what steps are you going to take to make life better for someone? The ball is in your court, go for it. You only have today, right now, to make a difference.

Until next time, Β πŸ’™ Y.A.

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