“Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit. We cannot flower and grow without it.” ~Jess lair
One of the more important lessons I learned as a child came from my father.
One day a beggar knocked on our door looking for a giving hand. Though I was a small child, I still remember how he looked. He was old, with an untamed beard and tattered clothes. He had a wretched odor; I imagine he hadn’t showered in months. He was, more likely than not, homeless.
I remember how my father treated him. I remember my father inviting him into our home, seating him in our kitchen, opening the fridge, and feeding him a hearty meal. I don’t remember much more than that, yet my father’s actions that day taught me an important lesson. It was a lesson about how to treat others. It was a lesson about empowerment.
Recently, I have gone on a journey in the world of altruism. I sought out “good people” in order to understand the characteristics that define them. What piqued my interest were not just their acts of kindness, but also an understanding of their inner world.
The inspiring, kind people who I met throughout my journey are incredibly influential teachers. It is worthwhile understanding their insights, the way they approach life, and more specifically the way they treat others. Meeting them has had a profound effect on my life.
One of the lessons I learned through my interaction with them was the importance of empowering others.
Each of our inner circles is growing and encompassing more people: children, significant others, friends, colleagues, and random people we meet and don’t know as intimately. As the circle grows, so too does our influence.
Every nod, every smile, every interaction can completely change the course of someone else’s day. We can either wield that influence in a positive or negative way. The people who I met chose the former.
The following I would like to dedicate to those special people who identify with their fellowmen, and use their influence to empower them.
Empowering others is one of the most important acts of kindness one can do for his fellow man.
Empowering others means not criticizing them.
Empowering others means not judging them.
Empowering others means not being cynical toward them.
Empowering others means praising the struggling student in the class on his or her progress—any progress, no matter how small.
Empowering others means curbing your ego.
Empowering others means connecting to the best elements that lie within you.
Empowering others is contagious.
Empowering others means giving them the feeling that they are loved.
Empowering others is to understand that the cashier at the supermarket, the waiter at the café, the guy who pumps your gas, the doorman, the street cleaner, and the janitor are not transparent. They are people just like us.
Empowering others means smiling at these people, inquiring about their wellbeing, thanking them for the services they provide, and wishing them a good day.
Empowering others means being happy for them, and praising them on their accomplishments. Praising them in any way possible. Always.
Empowering others means identifying with them.
Empowering others is easy. It does not require any effort.
Empowering others means smiling when someone else approaches.
Empowering others also empowers us.
Empowering others makes the world a better place.
Empowering others means to be moved by the American poet and author Maya Angelou, one of the most important figures in the American Civil Rights Movement, who said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Photo by Damian Gadal