I found myself caught in a flashback experience from many years ago. I had accomplished something I really had stretched to do. I delivered my “performance” to the best of my abilities and I knocked it out of the ball park.

Here’s what’s got me stumped. I don’t have any regrets. I don’t have any hurt feelings. I have no negative experiences about it. However, the experience haunts me. There must be a message for me here or it would not have come up- come to the surface- come to my attention.

What happened was this. A couple of people were doing a song for a big church dinner. They needed a soprano for just a few lines. We sang the song, “The Rose” by Bette Midler. It was beautiful. The song crescendos to the part . . . “When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long, and you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong.”

I sang those lines – well, belted them out actually – an octive higher than the others were singing – on key I might add. There was thunderous applause. Afterwards, people were congratulating the other two on that song in particular. Especially that soprano part. The other two didn’t say anything and I merely said, I sang the soprano. The response was, “Oh.”

Now, I didn’t get my feelings hurt. It’s not about that. Had I been someone who needed positive feedback, it would have crushed me. If I had been someone who enjoyed praise, I would have felt less than. I had no negative feelings what so ever. It is like a space here. A void. Like an emptiness – nothing negative and nothing positive. No one did any harm. Yet no one did any good either. Empty space of neutrality.

This neutral energy brings to my attention how important encouragement of others resonates with me. Even to the point where I feel withholding a kindness is akin to cruelty.

If you have a kind word to say, say it. Even if it’s dismissed, the empty space of neutrality has been filled.

What lies within this neutral emptiness is opportunity for self-doubt, self-criticism, shame, blame – all of that stuff. One kind word could mean the world to someone else. And kindness fills a void that otherwise might be filled with negativity.

To be honest, I think the empty that was handed to me was meant to be a slight or a rejection. I’m so grateful that that particular person’s opinion didn’t matter. The fact that not even one other person mentioned to me personally that they liked this performance shows how pervasive the attitude of dismissal ran through that church. No wonder I have Post Traumatic Church Syndrome! (If you haven’t read that book, you might want to!)

I see this in stark contrast to the people and the Divine Fellowship who encourage one another without fail! How wonderful to walk past a conversation and hear people encouraging one another!

You’ve heard, “If you cannot say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” (Bambi’s mother said that.) I say, find something of encouragement to say! Like:

If anyone can figure it out, you can.

I know you’ll do fine.

I’m sure you’ll find a way.

Whatever you choose will be a blessing, I’m sure.

I know you can listen to your heart and choose wisely.

You are an expression of Divine Light.

Ask for words of encouragement to be gifted to you from Divine Source. Words will come!

Here’s the real kicker! What do you say to yourself in those moments of neutral-emptiness? Do you fill the emptiness with self-derision or criticism? Do you grieve because someone else couldn’t tell you what you needed to hear? Speak words of encouragement to yourself! Pour the Light of Love through your awareness into your own heart-space! Speak the loving truth to yourself. Watch yourself grow and shine!

Nice words from others are just that . . . nice. Powerful words of encouragement to ourselves evokes change, growth, and inspiration!

Speak encouragement to yourself today and see how your world changes. And let’s speak encouragement to others and watch them grow.