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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Best Life Advice I've Gotten

Current Mood:   
Currently Listening to: The Carriage Road--Jim Chappell (Acadia)

I've been visiting a lot of self-help websites lately, and I came across an article that resonated with me so strongly because of the sheer brevity of it: in just over 500 words it summarizes not only what I needed to know about myself, but also how to best support others. I'm passing it on :-).
What You Need to be Successful by Bob Mueller

We must give to others both roots and wings.

There are two messages that all human beings need to receive. They are the messages of affirmation and of personal responsibility. These two messages are like the two legs on which a person can walk successfully through life.

The message of affirmation is this: "You are a unique human being, the one and only you. There never was and there never will be another you. You are a real gift to this world and a person of inestimable worth."

The message of responsibility is this: "As you mature into adulthood, you must take your life into your own hands. You must, at this time, assume full responsibility for your life, your emotions, and attitudes. The outcome of your life is in your hands. When you look into a mirror, you are looking at the one person who is responsible for your happiness."

These two messages have been compared to "roots and wings." We must give to others both roots and wings.

The roots of any human existence are the roots of personal worth, of self-confidence - the roots of belief in one's own uniqueness. The message that offers roots is that of unconditional love.

The wings of a human existence are the wings of self-responsibility. Giving a person wings is the message that "You have everything needed to soar, to sing your own song, to warm the world with your presence. You must take your life into your own hands. You must not blame others and complain about your lack of opportunity. You must assume full responsibility for the course and direction of your life."

The message of roots says to an individual: "You've got it!" The message of wings says: "Now go for it!"

How Do You Help Someone Else?

In the process of loving another and providing roots and wings,  there are three important stages:

1. Kindness: a warm assurance that "I am on your side. I care about you."
Someone has wisely said that "people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care." To build a relationship on any foundation other than kindness is to build on sand. I have to know that you really want my happiness and my growth, that you really are "for me," or I won't open at all to your influence.

2. Encouragement: a strong reassurance of your own strength and self-sufficiency.
What all people need most is to believe in themselves. They need confidence in their own ability to take on the problems and opportunities of life. To "en-courage" means to put courage in. Encouragement instills into the recipient a new and fuller awareness of his or her own powers. Encouragement says: "You can do it!"

3. Challenge: a loving but firm exhortation to action.
If encouragement makes the loved one aware of his or her strength, challenge is the loving push to use this strength: "Try. Stretch. Do it. If you succeed, I will be in the front row clapping my hands off. If you fail, I will be sitting right at your side. You won't be alone. Go ahead now. Give it your best shot. Go for it!" 

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