Genuine encouragement is a rare commodity. Learning to provide it is highly valuable. Truly standing by another’s side in their time of need isn’t accomplished verbally. It’s accomplished by actually being there for the other.
All of these terminologies are really nice and sweet, but they actually avoid commitment and responsibility.
So many people in the world are looking for commodities which are high in demand and low in supply. Because this is what gives a commodity value, that it’s very hard to get and so many people want it. Then you sell it for a high price.
When it comes to interrelationships between people, there are numerous things which are very high in demand and, sadly, very low in supply. And when we learn the art of supplying these, if you will, relational commodities to other people, it can be very powerful and we can have an enormous impact on people around us.
So we need to look for these things to find them. And one such thing is encouragement.
It is really hard to find a friend or family member who can truly give us the full encouragement that we really need throughout our day and especially at crucial junctures in our life. And when we learn to be the one who can encourage another, that is a commodity that is invaluable. And it’s such a gift to be able to give to another person. I used to be the person who was always very honest. I didn’t want to just throw out platitudes to someone and say, okay, everything will be okay, don’t worry about it, we’re going to take care of this or whatever it is. Because I wanted to be very honest about it, I wanted to be realistic, I didn’t want to be unrealistic for them. But what I began to discover is that that was also partially a defense mechanism on my end not to have to step into commitment and then responsibility in my dedication to the other person. So I would use language like, I’ll do what I can, let’s see what we can do, if there’s anything I can do let me know. And all of these terminologies are really nice and sweet but they actually avoid commitment and responsibility.
And when we are there for another person truly, we actually step up and we make a commitment to them that I will hold your hand through this. That is really encouraging and powerful for another person when we speak to them in that way. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, I will not leave you until this is resolved.
Now, in such a sense we’re not really committing to resolving the issue, but we are committing to being there for the other person and giving our full backing in anything we can do until it is resolved. That is stepping up.
And, you know, sometimes it is better for the person who is dealing with an issue to have a friend like ourselves who is focusing on the unrealistic than being realistic. You know, we’re always worried that, you know, well, what’s going to happen when, realistically speaking, the outcome will be such and the disappointment will be so great? Well, you know what, the person has to live to get to that disappointment if that’s what will happen. And our encouragement sometimes does far more for them and gives them the energy and optimism to get further down the road. And the disappointment will be dealt with when you get there.
Often that is actually the best thing we can do for another person, giving them the reassurance that they need in the moment they’re in right now. So instead of using non‑committal terms like I will try, which is so non‑committal, you know, I’ll try is, basically, a sweet way of saying have a nice day. That’s what it’s doing. It’s saying have a nice day. It’s not stepping up and showing up and saying, I am here for you. I am committed to you. So instead of asking questions about what can I do or how can I be there for you, we tell them, I will be here for you. I am here for you and I will hold your hand through this. We can say, I’m expecting to hear from you within the next 12 hours instead of saying, if you need anything, give me a call.
What do you hear when someone says if you need anything, give me a call? Do you hear a commitment? I don’t hear a commitment in those words. What I hear is someone who is trying to be nice. But if someone is trying to step up to the plate, they say, I better hear from you in the next 12 hours or I’ll be knocking on your door. That’s someone who is insisting that you reach out to them because they insist on being there for you.
When we can find one small thing that we can do that we know that they need, it may be a phone call checking in on them, right, it may be going out of our way to buy something we know that they like that will just give them a sense of feeling good, their favorite candy bar and we come over and we drop it off and we show them we are going out of our way for them so they know we are truly committed to them, we’re not just verbalizing support but we are actually committed to them, that is what does so much for another person.
A friend of mine recently shared how unfortunately he’s out of a job and a friend of his came over to him out of the blue without him saying a word to his friend and said, Look, I know you’re out of a job, if there’s any help I can give you, please do not hesitate and give me a call and I will help you in any way that I can. And a few months down the road this guy needed a loan and he called him and he said, Do you remember when you told me, you extended yourself, so I’m reaching out to you and I’m calling you and I really need some ‑‑ I really need to take a loan, is there any money you can lend me? And his friend immediately told him, Let me see what I can do. I’m going to get back to you very shortly. And very shortly he calls him back and says, Yes, I can lend you $10,000. And then he says, Look, that’s all I can do for now but I’m going to see if I can do anymore in the near future and if I can I will let you know.
And what did this friend do? He did not wait for the one who needed the money to call him back in a few weeks. The moment he was able to lend him more money, he called him back and he said, I can lend you another $10,000. That is unbelievable support. That is an outstanding commitment to another person. Now, I’m not saying that that’s always the right way to support someone. We have to use a lot of wisdom in the way we support someone so we are truly helping them. But in this instance, that was the right way to help this person and this person showed true commitment to their friend in this way.
What we all need when we are feeling vulnerable is a sense of security. Friends can give a sense of security. Friends can keep on calling, keep on visiting, reaching out and saying, I’ll give you a loan, make the uncomfortable call to someone they know in the same field to see if they can get them a job. All of these things are a demonstration that we are truly committed to encouraging, supporting and giving a sense of security to another person. Be the security you can be for another person because there’s hardly anything greater you can do for someone else. And as I always say, if you want friends who have your back, be the friend who has their back.