Encouraging words go a longer way than that for which they are often given credit.
There is power in words.
Words can knock down or words can build up.
Words can keep a person going or make one want to quit.
Words can make the difference in a person's life without the speaker even knowing it.
As much as running is a parallel and platform for my writing some days, the TRX I have begun doing is becoming the same for me. I don't mean for it to be a life-lesson experience when I go into the classes, but somehow I often walking away feeling like I have gained strength from within as much as physical strength.
That comes from the power of encouragement.
I have been doing the class now for almost a month. It's a love/hate relationship, I must say. I love it because of what I know it is doing for my body. I hate it for how hard it is!
I love it for working new muscle groups. I hate it for how awkward I am with it.
I love it for the people in the class. (I don't have a hate word to contradict that aspect)
I love it for how it makes me sweat. I hate it for how it makes me sweat. (Contradictory, I know, but some of you can relate to that statement.)
It's a growing relationship that I have with it. I am clueless on some of these exercises and often times by the time I get the hang of the exercise, it's time to move on to the next one, so I have missed the point of what was being done! Yesterday, I got all tangled up like crazy in the straps, all twisted around. As I flailed around slightly, trying to figure it out, I sort of exasperatingly said " I have no idea what I am doing!" (I really don't.... it's very humbling, actually.) But the class instructor said back to that "You're doing awesome, that's what you're doing!"
And that was enough to keep me going, to keep me determined to figure out these crazy poses that fixate new muscle groups. He had no idea the power of his encouraging words in that moment. Sometimes I watch the others in the class to figure out how I'm supposed to be doing my movements. The instructor is very good about helping me as well. But as I watch them, it is easy enough for me to slip into the habit of comparison and thinking "I'll never get this. I'll never be as good as they are." And yet, I find myself rarely in that space because of how encouraging every one in the class is. It's not just the instructor.
It's his wife, it's the person next to me (who seemingly also has the ability to teach the class in the absence of the instructor), it's the girl across from me who has definitely been doing this for a while. No one is down on me for looking like a 2 year old, twisted in all kinds of silly ways. They are all in my corner, cheering me on in their own way, including me in their world.
For all I know, they might think what in the world is that woman doing?? But none of them say anything along those lines.
When I talk about the class to others or my confusion in not being able to get the exercise done immediately, I have been made fun of by others. But, never by those who are alongside me in the class. And I share all this to say there is power in encouragement. A kind word goes a long way. I carry it with me all day, an into the next day even. Those encouraging words are propelling me forward in more ways than one.
These new friends of mine are making a difference in my life, and I am sure they are completely unaware of that. Not only are they helping create a new love for me at 6 am in the morning, but they are also creating a space in my heart and mind that is the hand of God, nudging me forward in my journey of life. Their words echo in my mind and soul when the negative ones want to rewind themselves and try to play over again. But the more positivity I take away from those moments, the stronger I am becoming. Physically, maybe (hopefully! that is part of the point!) But more importantly than physically, it's strengthening me spiritually and emotionally as well.
I told one of my friends yesterday that honestly, it would be easy enough for me to leave the class completely discouraged because I just feel like I am taking forever to get it, I'm not improving and I often times feel a little .... dumb. But, I have yet to walk way feeling that way. Because of the power of encouragement.
Little do they know how God is using them in more ways than just a physical strength train tool. They are helping me grow in my self confidence journey.
I share all of this to say that you just don't ever know what your words will mean or do for someone around you. Don't discredit the power of an encouraging word, a high five, a hug a letter or a card. It's true that I may take it to a deeper level because words hold much worth to me, but i know that it makes a difference. Words have the ability to build up or destroy. Which will you choose today?