There is an art to imparting strength and confidence, to inspiring and heartening what is already within us. In many ways, to encourage is to help the heart unfold. And each time we do so, another aspect of our true self unfolds. Very often, the art of encouragement is needed to counter some sort of fear, which blocks us from what we already know. Fear makes courage forget itself. Encouragement reminds us of what we’re capable of.
In the modern classic The Wizard of Oz, the lion is afraid of everything and is sorely in need of courage – not to be heroic, but simply to make it through the days. So he joins Dorothy, the tin man, and the scarecrow – all off to see the wizard. In particular, the lion hopes the wizard can magically give him some courage. En route, he is tested in unexpected ways, and, though afraid, he manages to cope quite bravely.