Many of us are fortunate to be able to affirm ourselves, and have people in our lives who affirm us. But there are many who have no one to affirm them and, for whatever reason, are incapable of affirming themselves. Perhaps they feel lost, broken, wounded, rejected, dejected, worthless, hopeless, etc. Some don't even have the strength or ability to seek affirmation. They may fear rejection and/or embarrassment in doing so. What a difference we can make in the lives of others if we take a moment to affirm them. It can be as simple as offering a smile, saying hello, offering a hug, a compliment, a word of comfort or encouragement--letting people know they are seen, worthy of love, respect, support, compassion. Whether it's a stranger, a co-worker, an acquaintance, etc., we don't know what battles people are fighting on any given day. We often judge what we see, but the truth often lies in the unseen. We don't know who or what people go home to each day, assuming they have a home. We make assumptions based on limited knowledge, but we don't know. What will it cost us to affirm others? A little time and effort.

But what if we're presented with an opportunity to affirm someone we don't particularly like? What about someone we know doesn't like us? Or someone who has hurt us? Challenging, indeed. Will it cost us? Maybe. We may need to let down our guard, overlook our pride, our anger, our perceived need to hold on to a grudge or to be right, offer our time, effort, etc.--even if only temporarily. And there's always the possibility our efforts may be rebuffed, and we may suffer embarrassment. But if we are able to overcome those potential obstacles and make an attempt, we may find it is a salve not only for the person we affirm, but our own souls as well. And what if the person does rebuff our attempt to affirm them or continues with behavior we find offensive or unacceptable? As for me, if I've done what's in my heart, I'm learning to leave the rest to the person and God. That doesn't mean I won't have feelings about it, but I can only control my actions, not how others respond.

Whether affirming a stranger or someone we know, our act might just bring a ray of sunshine into the life of someone in need of a respite from life's rains. It could be the difference between someone holding on and giving up. While the gesture may seem small or inconsequential to us, it could change the course of someone's life.

Can you imagine your life without affirmation?



Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply