A Hand Up
One of the most important things we do in our lives is to help others when we can. This simple act might go completely unnoticed by anyone else except us and them. Yet those small acts of kindness may be more precious than we ever imagined, both to our own self respect and to how we ultimately define ourselves. We never know when our kind acts or words of encouragement may be all someone needs to turn their life around. To help them realize they do have worth, to show them that there is good in the world after all. It's often those little things in life that can make the most difference. There is much that is wrong in our world, but sometimes we have an opportunity to be one of the things right.
The beauty of encouragement is that it costs nothing but a few moments of time, a few beats of our heart. But the results of those cheering words may well prove priceless to someone who desperately needed to hear them. I have experienced times in my own life where just knowing another person believed in me made all the difference. Children are especially empowered by encouragement. It's how they learn to overcome difficulties or accomplish goals. An authority figure telling them they can do it helps them to believe in themselves. Being encouraged also builds confidence, when a person is cheered by others now, they will remember those powerful words during those other times when the encouragement must come from within.
Going out of our way to help someone might actually be the shortest path to not only confirming we are a good person, but also earning the respect of others. A few months ago, I was pulling into a convenience store parking lot to get gas. There was a big tough looking fellow along with a young boy walking across the parking lot to the door of the store. Suddenly, the big guy took off running to the door, then held it open for an elderly lady with a walker, who was leaving the store. I thought to myself that young boy is very lucky to have such a good role model. This young man will grow into a fine caring man, because his father is showing him, by positive example, how to be a good, kind and caring person.
Helping others is another wonderful way to feel good about ourselves. As we get older, this becomes more important than ever. Not everyone will live the first class lifestyle of the rich, but anyone can, by their actions, be first class people.
It's not just a step, it's a start.