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I remember when I first realized that your intentions were to shine light on me whenever you could. It was unfamiliar at first. I was still carrying the crumbs of adolescents. Still feeling the tiny pecks of competition and jealousy that often creep into friendships. It wasn’t that I wanted to hold onto these crumbs but I hadn’t yet realized that it was possible to let them go. I looked up and found in you an unwavering cheerleader.

When I experienced a joy or success in my life, you leapt to your feet and cheered for me often louder than I cheered for myself. When I found myself in pain, you felt with me and then slowly and patiently built me up again. As each year passed, I realized the invaluable gift you were giving to me, and my gratitude has become infinite. You, my cheerleader, know who you are. You are the friendships of my life and you have surrounded me with more love and encouragement than I could possibly articulate. This letter is a love letter to you…A thank you for never asking me to dim my light but always pushing me to shine brighter. A thank you for always wanting greatness for me and believing it was possible. A thank you for loving yourself enough to love me, without a critical eye, but a compassionate one. And finally, a thank you for teaching me that friendships of the soul are never built upon jealousy or competition but upon a fundamental belief in love. Thank you. Today, in my space of gratitude, I am reminded of the importance of committing myself to always striving to be the loudest cheerleader for the people in my life. I recognize that it is not possible to expect that which I do not give. And so I challenge you today to join me in my gratitude by thanking your cheerleaders. But don’t stop there. Follow your gratitude with a reflection of your own sideline skills. Are you cheering loud enough for your friends and family to hear you? If your answer is no…then strap on your pom-poms and get moving…

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