I have some amazingly positive people in my life.  And they help me be who I am because they are so supportive.

But how do they do this besides just showing their unconditional, “I’m not going anywhere” spirit? Well, one of the ways I’ve noticed is that they remind me of my worth. They remind me of my talents. They remind me of my beauty, of what I’m good at. They affirm my abilities and my dreams.  Not blindly so. They critique, they give honest feedback, they even have those painful “hey look” moments with me when something needs to change.

But, it’s because of these people that I am confident in my worth, even when I am not confident in who I am.

When I graduated college, I had a clear goal in one area that I wanted to change:

I wanted to be kinder.

I am a naturally feisty, competitive, sarcastic, funny with a little kick to it, person.  As a result, my presence has a bite to it. (It often leaves a bitter aftertaste when my sarcasm has gotten away from me.)

And while I had plenty of friends who loved me, and I could’ve gone on the same, I wanted to change.  These people that I had around me who were sweet, who made me feel so uplifted and valuable… I wanted to make others feel that way too.

I’ve been working on changing my spirit toward kindness since then, and I see significant changes in my heart.

I wouldn’t call myself a sweet person.  I still have a large streak of feist that runs deep through me, and I think that’s ok.  But, while I have a lot of room to grow still, I am kinder than I once was.  I am slower to get irritated. My eyes have changed, and I don’t have to work very hard to see the beauty in each individual person.

But I still want to grow.  And I’ve realized that just being someone who sees the beauty in someone is not really what the world needs. The world needs people who see the beauty in others, and who show it back to them.

I can’t believe I’m using this word, but I want to be a cheerleader.  I am (rooting) for people.  I want them to dream. To succeed. To love.  To know they’re valuable.

It goes against the grains of my old competitive nature. But that’s the reality, is that the woman God is calling me to be doesn’t want others to fail or never try so that I may stand out. I want to be the one with balloons who celebrates the successes of people I barely know.

Because, when I am really secure in my worth, as my loving, positive people have made me… I’ve found it to be much easier to believe that other people are just as valuable as I am. And that their dreams, success, and loves, that those are worth encouraging as much as mine are, too.

And the more I trust God and what He’s doing with my life, the easier it is to be genuinely glad for others when they get things/opportunities/relationships/recognition that I wanted.

I know I’m not near there yet.  It’s a new goal, though.  I want to be an encourager, not spouting empty compliments, but someone who sees the good in the world, and shows the world where its good. I want to be genuinely happy for people about the happy things of life, and sad with them for the sad things.

So, my new goal is going to take more effort, but I hope someday, when people look back on my life, that it will be clear that I was for people. And I hope that somehow, as more and more people find the confidence in their worth, and begin to let their beauty shine, this legacy of encouragement that my friends have spurred in my life will continue, and that the world will become even bit brighter still.

To you who have and do speak and act encouragingly in my life, thank you for who you are and how you are. You inspire me.