As I mentioned in one of my recent posts, I’m trying to write shorter articles. I felt this was another one that was worth a lot of words, so I am splitting it into two posts. Wednesday, I will post part 2. We are in living in the most challenging time I have experienced in my lifetime. I assume it is the same for many others. Through it all, on one hand I see and read a lot of negativity and selfishness on social media and in the news. On the other hand, I see a lot of caring and coming together. I choose to focus on the latter. It is so important, now more than ever, to focus on not just building ourselves up, but helping to build others up and uplift voices.

Here are five easy ways to help uplift others, as well as yourself:

Respect others opinions. The greatest leaders show respect to others thoughts and voices. It’s important to do that for everyone in your life, including yourself. Think about how it feels to have someone shut you down. It never feels good, so remember how you feel before doing it to someone else.

Choose your words. Effectively communicating with others will help make them feel more respected than if you choose the wrong word, use a condescending tone, cut people off or devalue their opinions. If there’s a word that’s more appropriate in a conversation, use it. Start with a praise. Instead of engaging in an argument, try to point out on how both of you can make things better. Speak at the same tone as the person you’re speaking to and listen to their side of things. Give someone the respect you want in return.

Be encouraging. Think of encouragement as an expression and understanding of someone else’s hope and future. It’s important that you do this for yourself as well. . Make sure you give yourself encouragement and praise for your ideas and things you do well.

Forgive. When someone makes a mistake, try to quickly forgive, if you can. It can help release them from feeling guilt that over time can wear away at them.

Don’t talk behind people’s backs. It’s never fun to be part of gossip, especially when it’s not based 100% on facts. Try not to unnecessarily hurt others by talking badly behind their backs. You may feel the need to vent or blow off steam; try talking to the person about it. It may not feel like it’s part of uplifting someone else, but it is because you’re not actively tearing them down.

These are the first five tips to help uplift people in your life. Wednesday, I will post the other five. If you need some other positivity inspiration, you can check out some of my other posts.

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