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Guest Corner: Making your Life Matter

We all want to know we matter, that what we do and who we are makes a difference in this world. I believe one of the greatest ways we can give our lives significance is by encouraging someone else and sharing hope.

With all of life’s joys and sorrows and ups and downs, we all need to know we are not alone. We all need to hear someone else reassure us that we’re going to make it through a tough situation. We all could use a cheering section sometimes, that realization that someone else cares about us and wants us to make it.

Sometimes it’s as simple as telling someone, “I’m proud of you” --- and really meaning it. Most people don’t hear those powerful words often enough --- and the result can be profound. As a teacher, I try to tell my students I’m proud of them as much as I can. Whether my students are elementary school children or university students, they never seem to tire of hearing that I believe in them and care about them. At the same time, I try to challenge them to use their gifts and talents to help other people and make this world a better place.

Sometimes encouraging someone can be as simple and meaningful as spending time together and really listening to what someone has to say and what’s in their heart. Sometimes what someone needs most is a heartfelt hug or a hand to hold or someone to walk beside them. Sometimes the most powerful way we can make a difference in someone’s life is with the power of our words.

Our words --- spoken or written --- have the power to communicate encouragement, compassion, hope and unconditional love. Yet too often, we hold back those encouraging words --- maybe because we’re afraid they’re not enough, maybe because we’re caught up in our own world, maybe because we’re not sure exactly what to say. But if you think about it, most people hear so many discouraging words from the world around them, so many unkind or thoughtless words that leave a mark in the heart and soul.

That’s why the power of encouraging words can make such a difference. That’s why the power of kindness is so strong.

Sometimes the difference between someone finding the inner strength and courage to go on in the face of difficulty or tragedy is as simple as knowing that even one other person is in their corner, committed to be there for them. We all have to endure challenges and even tragedies at some point in our lives. Those are the times we have to make a choice. We can choose to give up and feel sorry for ourselves. Or we can choose to endure and persevere and refuse to give up. And then, when we are able, we can choose to use what we have been through to encourage someone else who’s going through a tough time to keep the faith and hold onto hope.

We were created to connect with each other, to need one another. When we reach out to someone else with encouragement and compassion and love, we make a difference in the world wherever we are.

Our lives matter when we use our lives to make a real difference in someone else’s life.
Janet Lyn is a teacher, writer, journalist, singer/songwriter, inspirational speaker, photographer, avid cyclist, runner and beginning triathlete who enjoys life in the wide open spaces of the Southwest United States. Her passion for sharing hope comes from a lifetime of surviving and enduring and triumphing over adversity and tragedy in her own life and her desire to make a difference in other people’s lives. She can be contacted on twitter @WriteOnRideOn or her blog at:


  1. Janet, this is beautiful, and so important. And I will vouch that I see you live your life this way in every interaction I have with you. Thank you for encouraging all of us!

  2. Very beautiful words from a very beautiful person. Thank you for this blessing.


  3. This is such a wonderful blog. Really. Every once in a while you run across something like this that you want to print and hang on your office wall, that you want to send to others, that you wished that somehow you could get everyone to sit down, truly read with their mind open.

    I think that so many of us forget the power of encouragement, of a positive word, of praise.

    Avoiding criticism or punishment is an awful motivator. For sustained life- effecting results, people need to believe in themselves, and a lot of that comes from others telling them that they should.

    Really really excellent piece.


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