And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. –Hebrews 10:24-25
Have you ever seen the musical, The Man of La Mancha? In this story you meet a Spanish gentleman, Don Quixote, who thinks he is an honored knight, when in fact he is nothing of the sort. Don Quixote meets a lowly prostitute, Aldonza. He doesn’t know she is a prostitute; he thinks she is an elegant Spanish lady, a queen. Yet Don Quixote slowly changes the entire self-concept of this prostitute by constantly, unconditionally affirming her. What is amazing about the story is that when she begins to see herself differently, she begins to act differently. He even gives her a new name, Dulcinea, so that she will forever be reminded of her new identity and her potential. Because of the way he saw her, Aldonza becomes becomes a brand-new person—she becomes Dulcinea. The name means elegant sweetness and implies love and devotion.
Is there an Aldonza in your life? To whom can you offer positive encouragement? Who can you believe in, even when he or she doesn’t believe in himself or herself? In order to affirm a person’s potential, you may have to look at that person with the eye of faith and ask God to reveal his or her potential, not his or her current behavior.
Goethe, a famous philosopher once put this way: “Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is, treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”
Is there a Dulcinea in your path?
Today, give him or her the gift of affirmation.