Defeating Despair: The Power of Encouragement

Photo Credit: Jessiee Cuizon via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Jessiee Cuizon via CC Flickr

There is nothing worse in the world today than a person who has lost their vision, desire and hope to fulfill their dreams. Negative comments, hurtful words, and discouraging actions, can all lead an individual to having a disheartening sense of doom and despair. If left in this state for lengths of time, it can cause un-needed levels of distress and deep scars that can last, sometimes, for a lifetime.

So, what is something that can counteract despair? What can people do to help someone that is struggling with their life…or better yet, what can they do to prevent someone else from facing despair? Through Encouragement. It was once said that for every 1 negative comment a person said to another individual…it takes 7 positive comments or actions to counter. Sometimes, just giving people simple words of encouragement or a nod of satisfaction can do wonders to a person’s self-confidence. There are many, many times, that all a person really needs is a hug or that human touch. I previously posted a story called “The Power of A Human Touch” that you can check out here.

What I decided to do in today’s blog was to post three separate stories of encouragement which show the true power of a positive word or action. It is my hope that these short stories will, in some way, touch your heart in a helpful way.

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It wasn’t like Scott Kregel to give up. He was a battler, a dedicated athlete who spent hour after hour perfecting his free throws and jump shots during the hot summer months of 1987. But just before fall practice everything changed. A serious car accident left Scott in a coma for several days.

When he awoke, a long rehabilitation process lay ahead. Like most patients with closed head injuries, Scott balked at doing the slow, tedious work that was required to get him back to normal — things such as stringing beads. What high school junior would enjoy that?

Tom Martin, Scott’s basketball coach at the Christian school he attended, had an idea. Coach Martin told Scott that he would reserve a spot on the varsity for him — if he would cooperate with his therapist and show progress in the tasks he was asked to do. And Tom’s wife Cindy spent many hours with Scott, encouraging him to keep going.

Within 2 months, Scott was riding off the basketball court on his teammates’ shoulders. He had made nine straight free throws to clinch a triple-overtime league victory.

It was a remarkable testimony of the power of encouragement.

~ Readers Digest

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC FLickr

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC FLickr

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Jean Nidetch, a 214 pound homemaker desperate to lose weight, went to the New York City Department of Health, where she was given a diet devised by Dr. Norman Jolliffe.

Two months later, discouraged about the 50 plus pounds still to go, she invited six overweight friends home to share the diet and talk about how to stay on it.

Today, 28 years later, one million members attend 250,000 Weight Watchers meetings in 24 countries every week.

Why was Nidetch able to help people take control of their lives?

To answer that, she tells a story.

When she was a teen-ager, she used to cross a park where she saw mothers gossiping while the toddlers sat on their swings, with no one to push them. “I’d give them a push,” says Nidetch. “And you know what happens when you push a kid on a swing? Pretty soon he’s pumping, doing it himself. That’s what my role in life is–I’m there to give others a push.”

Irene Sax in Newsday.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

———————–

Edward Steichen, who eventually became one of the world’s most renowned photographers, almost gave up on the day he shot his first pictures.

At 16, young Steichen bought a camera and took 50 photos. Only one turned out — a portrait of his sister at the piano. Edward’s father thought that was a poor showing. But his mother insisted that the photograph of his sister was so beautiful that it more than compensated for 49 failures.

Her encouragement convinced the youngster to stick with his new hobby. He stayed with it for the rest of his life, but it had been a close call.

What tipped the scales?

The vision to spot excellence in the midst of a lot of failure.

Bits & Pieces, February 4, 1993, pp. 4-5.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

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9 thoughts on “Defeating Despair: The Power of Encouragement

  1. What a great post ! I have a male friend who is going thru some stress, and have not found a way to soothe and uplift him… until today. I showed him this post today, and now he is sitting on the couch, scrolling thru your blog, laughing and murmuring to himself… thank you so very much ! =)

    Have a lovely new year, and I hope it brings you happiness, light and all the love you can hold. =)

    Like

    • Thank you so very much for your encouraging words. It makes me feel good that you enjoy the things that I post. I love encouraging people and helping them feel better about themselves. Have a very Happy New Year as well my friend!!

      Like

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