I’ve always been a natural cheerleader- minus the gymnastic skills and ability to do those Russian splits.
Upbeat personality? Check.
Big… um, lungs? Check.
Contagious enthusiasm, team spirit, and a passing love of sports? Check, check, and check!
Failed to make the high school drill team, cheer & song squads? Sadly, yes, check.
I KNOW. I was devastated! And I definitely had a broken heart & a bitter taste in my mouth for a while after the tryouts ended. I was sure that I just wasn’t pretty or popular enough to break through the high school cliques, and that hurt. Still, I was truly happy for (most of) the girls who did make the team, and I always supported my friends on the squads during pep rallies and I cheered loudly from the stands at the games. GO MONSOONS!
I may never have been given the pom-poms in high school, but that didn’t mean that I was going to stop being cheerful.
Throughout my life I’ve found that being encouraging and cheering others on feels really good and natural to me. It’s not even a conscious act, I just do it. But what about when I am the one who needs a boost? Who is there to cheer for me when I’m feeling down and discouraged?
I’ve carefully cultivated my own personal “cheer squad” over the years of mutually supportive souls who value connection, authenticity, and spreading joy. It’s a small, close-knit super-squad of women and men who have my back, and who I am happy to support in their times of need as well. I know that 24/7 these are the people I can call, email, text, and for a very select few- just show up with my mascara running and a bottle of wine, and they will be there to help me pick up the pieces when it all goes to shit.
This past week has been one with more emotional challenges than I felt prepared to handle, and my tender soul is feeling all sorts of vulnerable and deflated. Rather than try to put on a brave face and hide what I’m feeling (my boyfriend lovingly points out that I am actually terrible at hiding my feelings- he’s correct) I am going to reach out to some of my cheer squad for a little support and perspective. I’m shutting down the voice that says “Nobody cares, don’t be a burden” because I know that is simply not true. Even encouragers need a little love and positive energy sometimes. We are not immune to times of sadness or feeling blue.
This is the mantra I use to meditate on in times like this: It is OK for me to ask for help. It is safe for me to open up to you.
If you are an encourager like me, I invite you to practice this mantra when you need a little boost. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your cheer squad, too. You will be amazed at what a blessing it can be!