In the context of relationships, one of the most important things we can learn is to celebrate and encourage one another. However, it can also be one of the most vulnerable things. Celebrating and encouraging a friend, a co-worker, or a fellow student could mean spurring them forward into their dreams.
The fear in this is: if I celebrate and encourage others, will I be left behind or go unnoticed?
As a teenager playing baseball, I would wait my turn to step into the batter’s box to hit. My teammate, batting before me, would strike out. Internally I would celebrate his failure while externally saying, “Hey, man, you’ll get ‘em next time.” You see, I wanted to be the one getting the praise for a good hit. If he got the hit before me, I thought he would overshadow me. Comparison and competition prevented me from being able to celebrate and encourage my teammates.
To truly celebrate and encourage each other, we must understand that our worth is not directly tied to the success or failure of those around us.
Dr. Alfred Adler noted that we have to move from vertical relationships, hierarchical in nature, to horizontal relationships, where we are all equal yet different. As long as my measuring stick for success is someone else, it will be difficult for me to encourage and celebrate another person.
Encouraging and celebrating others means I am vulnerable because I choose to put you before me.
When I can call to attention someone’s strengths, I’m not pushing myself down this proverbial ladder. I shift from being part of a community of competitors to embracing the mindset of a community of friends.
Written by: Logan Kafer