Enhancers, the “Wind Beneath My Wings”


Enhance: augment, boost, enrich, heighten

Throughout my life I have been blessed with enhancers. They are people who not only noticed qualities or abilities in me that I didn’t see, but go beyond that. They’ve responded to them.

Some enhancers presented me with opportunities to not only use those abilities, but to foster, heighten and augment them in the process. They’ve showed me doors I could enter. And when I was reluctant, nudged me through them, sometimes even joining me in the adventure. They’ve boosted my self-image, self-assurance and growth. They’ve made me feel valued.

This blog would not have happened but for an enhancer. Someone thought my ideas about aging at 95 were worth sharing. She not only nudged me to blog, but offered a support system. I looked at myself with fresh eyes and began learning how to blog. You see the result.   Months later, a son, made a donation to the school with the requirement that it not only be named after me, but required that I be “connected” with it. A belief that at 96 I could still rise to the new demands that project might create for me. I trust his vision of my abilities and am doing my best to be “connected” to the resultant project. Because two people looked at me and my capacities and thought they could be enhanced, my life changed remarkably in my mid-90’s.

Lately I’ve been thinking more about these enhancing behaviors I had experienced, I’ve tried to take them apart and look at them more closely.   It seemed to start with someone noticing and genuinely responding to some quality or capacity in me at whatever level it existed and that triggered a belief that there was something in me that I could enhance.

Then I began to pay more attention to what was happening in less-dramatic, everyday contacts with others that resulted in my feeling enhanced in one way or another.  I recognized that I felt enhanced when people seemed to enjoy something about me. That enjoyment made me feel more secure and capable. The behaviors that triggered my feeling enhanced were those of genuine engagement, even intrigued demeanor (in contrast to patronizing or tolerating attitudes). Questions were linked to exploring what I’d been talking about.   Offers of a different “wrinkle” to an idea I had. Genuinely sharing my concerns without immediately proffering advice. Offering unexpectedly what a former dean of mine called a “warm fuzzy”— a compliment or positive feedback supported by data.   Enhancing, I saw, could be generated by a host of tiny, subtle verbal and nonverbal quiet behaviors.

My responses to enhancing encounters included: trusting myself enough to take on new situations, to take on sometimes uncomfortable new situations.   More frequently in everyday contacts it was confidence-building or feelings of closeness and comfort. Either way, enhancers became welcome “winds beneath my wings” that caused me to feel more like I was soaring, a little or a lot. And certainly in this time of serious aging, soaring is both rare and welcome.


Wind Beneath My Wings song Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley, 1982

9 thoughts on “Enhancers, the “Wind Beneath My Wings”

  1. So lovely! I am intrigued by you and want to know how I can find out more about you. At 76, I’m feeling a bit like a spring chicken in contrast to your years. More, please. 🙂


  2. While reading this post I instantly recognize in my own life the people who are my own enhancers. Strangely (?) one of them is 92. And like yours, they spot something in me that could help other people, extend further than my own little life. Wonderful,isn’t it?


  3. Doris,Your image and imagery are beautiful; I am reminded of the characteristics of geese – honking to each other in encouragement; taking turns leading when the leader becomes tired; using the v-formation to buoy one another…they are indeed born enhancers! Your post gave me pause to review my life to-date and think of some of my enhancers…many are obvious and go without saying.  Others are more subtle and in some cases were fleeting – albeit impactful encounters…for all, I am so appreciative. I hope that I am an enhancer to others – family, friends, and fleeting acquaintances alike. 


  4. I could not have stated the ideas in the post better myself nor could I believe in them more. It is uplifting to just see the thoughts and know that others have them.


  5. Another beautiful reminder of our human interdependence. Thank you, dear Doris, for continuing to share your story – and for helping me take flight.



  6. Hi Doris, I tried to send you an email but it bounced, so I’m just writing here that I went back and read all your earliest posts. I am glad I’ve discovered you and hope that we can be virtual friends! 🙂


  7. Doris, I’m new to your blog (and came to know it through DJan). So I’m slowly reading backwards through your posts. Just wanted you to know that I especially loved this one. “I recognized that I felt enhanced when people seemed to enjoy something about me. That enjoyment made me feel more secure and capable.” – your words. I have my own blog and have always written – never considered publishing anything I wrote until a dear friend enjoyed one of my stories so much she encouraged me to do so on Amazon. I have had several good reviews, but the mere fact that some may find joy in something I wrote brings me unexpected pleasure. I’m thinking this is what you mean by “enhanced”. You have a few years of experience on me – I’m 74 – and I appreciate your sharing it. I do believe that attitude and gratitude are important in this aging process.


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