Be Someone’s Encourager Today - Christine Kane

Today’s guest post was written by Sue Ludwig, a neonatal occupational therapist and a published poet. Sue is a consultant to neonatal intensive care units around the country and a national speaker. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
-Edith Wharton

We all need an encourager.

Someone who is truly happy for our successes. Someone who reminds us how strong and powerful we are when we feel momentarily defeated.

Encouragers don’t promise rainbows and sunshine. They promise presence, wisdom and great energy.

They choose to be the mirror that reflects our light.

Using that clear, nonjudgmental, revealing mirror, they reintroduce us to ourselves.

Our encouragers never see us as less than we are. When we’re writhing around in self-pity, they stand a few feet away waiting until we’re over our fit. We look up and there they are again holding the mirror.

We see we’re simply so much more than that moment.

We get up, brush ourselves off, and thank them.

Christine is an amazing encourager. In part because she set the intention to be such a person. And in part because it brings her such joy to reflect another’s light and watch it multiply.

The best way to show gratitude for your encouragers is to be one yourself.

I originally wrote this poem for someone who needed such encouragement. She had spiraled to a place where she could no longer see her true powerful self. The poem made her cry not because she couldn’t believe she was wonderful, but because deep down she knew it to be true.

Please send it on to anyone who needs your encouragement. Reflect their light and watch it spread.


You will begin to feel your weariness abate.

Your loneliness, your brokenness is being mended
carefully, slowly,
so as to remain steadfast over time.

Your fears are being replaced
by the pure power
of love
like spring rain,
like a waterfall cascading over your shoulders
with its raw beauty and power.

Your strength will awaken
like the first sight of sun after
days of rain
and you will stand
in awe of your forgotten self,
the self who kept you moving
one foot in front of the other
through these years of pain.

You will begin to realize what your soul
has known all along

you have always been whole
always been loved.

You are in need of healing
not in need of perfecting,

a gift to those in your life
who will always be blessed
by the incredible wonder

of you.

  • Michelle

    Dear Sue,

    “Encouragers don’t promise rainbows and sunshine. They promise presence, wisdom and great energy.”

    My new husband (8/9/09) has been going through a very rough time, and by extension so have I. After spending half of November and the beginning of December in the hospital, he’s been on disability and suffering bouts of depression and panic attacks. It’s been very hard on me.

    I have found my self saying so often in the past few months, “I don’t know how to help him. He doesn’t want my sunshine and rainbows approach.” I grew up with a mother who always soothed me by saying everything will be alright, and I believe that to this day. I put my faith and trust in God to take care of me. But when I tell my husband that everything will be okay in the end, he responds that he will never get better, that he doesn’t even see the end.

    I have been struggling to figure out how to support him, and one thing I have figured out is that by telling him he will get better, I am not validating his fears. A nurse in the hospital handled his fears over a test he was having by asking what’s the worst that can happen. He said, that the test comes out positive. She then walked him through what happens if the test came out positive.

    She embodied what you said, what I quoted above. She was present, and offered wisdom. Where I grew weary, offering positive affirmations that were constantly rejected, she remained patient. I envied her ability to comfort him.

    Now that we are home and it is my job, I need to remember your quote. I am going to put it on my computer desktop, and on my wall, as a constant reminder that I need to remain patient and just be present, letting him voice his fears without judging him negatively.

    I am glad the poem helped others, but that’s not what I need right now. It’s wonderful how one post can affect people in so many ways, and you are a blessing in my life right now.


  • Kay Gramm

    This is a beautiful poem and I sure agree with you. Encouragement is my passion, because I know it makes a difference for me! I believe if we could learn to say encouraging words to each other, we could change the world one person at a time.
    How to encourage

  • Carol

    Thank you, I am so moved. What a wonderful way to close this day.

  • laz

    This post is extraordinary, beautiful, soothing and wise- just like the writer. You are a gift to this world.

  • Sukie Curtis

    Thank you. I too was in need of–and received!–encouragement today. What a gift to be someone who holds the mirror for others’ true strength.

  • Sue Choppers-Wife

    A friend just sent this to me…thank you.

  • Sisters of another mother

    Sue (my estrogen sister), I cry…

  • Elaine

    Sue – you are such an encourager in my life. Bless you!

  • Marie

    Boy, did I need this today! I’m usually a pretty tough customer but today I’m nearly weepy with discouragement and exhaustion, and this was such a help. Thank you.

  • Catherine Cantieri, Sorted

    Oh, that’s beautiful. I recently did a meditation exercise to find the heart of what I do, and I think “encouraging” really captures it. I want to let my clients know that everything will be okay, and that they have it within them to change their space and systems to do their best work. I can’t think of a better word for that than “encouraging.” Thanks for this post, Sue and Christine!

  • brojoe

    Another great post Sue. It makes me happy to see so many people appreciating the “Sue” that I know and have appreciated for 39 years(almost).

  • Angie Dwyer

    You are such a truly amazing person; I thank God that He brought you into my life. You are my “encourager”. When I called you the other day, I called you my “validator” but I like your word better. Thank you so much for the beautiful poem. Love you!!

  • Meg

    Sue, That is simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

    And, yes! Christine IS an amazing encourager! “Sylvia,” too!

  • Kathy

    An amazing post. Thank you for sharing that beautiful poem. And watching, hearing and smelling the strong spring rains just enhanced my reading of it this morning.

    “Your fears are being replaced
    by the pure power
    of love
    like spring rain,
    like a waterfall cascading over your shoulders
    with its raw beauty and power.”

  • Christi

    Sue, I forwarded this to a friend who has been just this sort of encourager to me, and I printed the poem to post on my fridge as a reminder.

    Thank you so much. I hope that I am the sort of encourager to others that you have been to me this morning! 🙂

  • Emily

    Beautiful, Sue!!

  • sue

    Thanks for all these wonderful comments!! I love that quote as well, so perfectly written.

    Sheista- funny you picked out that line b/c I had the same a-ha feeling when it fell out of my head onto the page!

    And dj, I have been through the healing of an eating disorder as well and am sending you all kinds of encouragement to keep going!!!!

  • Lynne

    Sue, your beautiful post made me think about how many truly encouraging and wonderful people I have in my life — and to take a moment to let them know how grateful I am for that. Thank you for this lovely post. Your writing is extraordinary…

  • Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord

    Absolutely beautiful. The give and take of both being encouraged and being the one doing the encouraging… My life is balanced and blessed thusly.

  • Laura

    Thank you, Sue. Your post is beautiful. The Edith Wharton quote is new to me – very powerful!

  • sheista

    Thank You!
    I really needed encouragement this morning and there is was!

    You are in need of healing
    not in need of perfecting

    This was my ah-ha moment for the day.

  • Positively Present

    What a lovely post! I love the quote by Edith Wharton. I’ve read it before, but I’d forgotten about it and it’s just wonderful. I’ve been in kind of a crummy mood this morning but this post has lifted me right up. THANK YOU! 🙂

  • Patti

    Bless You!!

  • Julie

    Thank you – I read your article dearly wishing for (needing) an encourager whilst I am ‘writhing in self-pity’ – reading this beautiful poem was very therapeutic. Once again thank you.

  • DJ

    Wow, that touched me. I feel that I am the one that needed to read that tonight. I am going through healing right now for an eating disorder. I always feel “in need of perfecting”, but I need “healing”. I realize that now. The information on this blog is so very LIFE CHANGING and this poem is definately a blessing to me.