During the 13 years I was a teacher, I kept the following quote in the top drawer of my desk. It reminded me everyday of the awesome responsibility and power I had in my classroom.
“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.” - Haim G. Ginott -But it is not just teachers who have this kind of power. We all have it, and we all use it, each and every day. From our interactions at the check out counter of the grocery store, to our posts on social media, we all have the power to tear down or uplift, to discourage or encourage, to hurt or to heal.
In the world of health and fitness we can be at our most vulnerable. When we hit the streets or head to the gym in our workout clothes, we are open to the judgement and possible criticism of others. For some, all it takes is one bad experience to destroy confidence and kill motivation. It takes one person who chooses to belittle, instead of admire, and the workout clothes go right back into the drawer never to be seen again. A single harsh word can detonate a person’s confidence and destroy their desire.
Fortunately, positive people and words can be just as powerful. If we choose to empathize, encourage, and validate a person who is trying to improve, we can counteract the judgement of others. We can help erase doubt, calm fears, and build confidence. Sometimes a kind word is all the medicine needed to heal old wounds or to motivate someone to keep going.
The next time you see someone running, walking, working out, or posting about what they are doing on social media, remember your personal power. Remember that you can foster belief or create doubt. You have the power to humanize or dehumanize.
Which side will you choose?
This comment was recently posted in our Facebook group and it seems perfect to include at the end of this blog. :)
“So, is it just me or are there other runners out there that just want to high-five every runner that you pass on your run? I just think it's awesome to see so many other people out there getting their run on, and I just want to be able to say "Yeah! Way to go!" Maybe I'm just a slaphappy goofball runner, but I think I'm OK with that.”
- Lilly Hastings -