Have you ever felt like you’ve sunk to the very bottom of a scummy pond and are looking up through the dirty yellow water at a very weak and distant sun? Or perhaps you’ve been fed through an emotional wood chipper? Good times. Good times.
I had been weathering an emotional shit-storm not of my own making for several days, and I was feeling pretty low. Discouraged. Emotionally drained. I was second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-guessing myself. The rumor mill at work was running at full tilt, and some of it was not particularly complimentary.
At times like that, the most delicious feeling on earth is when someone unexpectedly throws you a lifeline; a vote of confidence out of the blue. I arrived at work, disastrously un-caffeinated and dreading another day of tumult, when the phone rang. What now?
On the other end of that much-needed line was a coworker. Our schedules are such that our paths almost never cross. I may have spoken to him a total of 15 minutes in my entire life. But he told me I was a good woman and a good employee and I shouldn’t let things get to me. He told me what it was like when he started work many years ago as the only minority in a good ol’ boys’ club, and how hard that was.
I’m not sure I made it clear to him just how much that conversation meant to me. He gave me the strength to weather the storm. I’ll be forever grateful for that small act of kindness.
Never underestimate how important your words of encouragement are to others. They may seem routine and obvious to you, but you could very well be delivering them as someone is about to hit rock bottom. That act may cost you nothing, but it might be priceless to the other person. That’s a lovely return on an emotional investment!