Legacy Building: How Will You Be Remembered?
As I heard about yet another celebrity death this past week, I started thinking about how different people have different views of other people’s legacies. While some people only remember the bad things someone did, other people only see the good. We all should have a mind toward legacy building. Our legacies are the only things left behind of ourselves after we are gone.
Building an Honorable Legacy
A lot of the good that we do in our lives may be remembered by those who are left when we are gone. Sometimes, you have no idea of the people whose lives you touch. You don’t have to be a rich philanthropist to make a difference in other people’s lives. The time that you spend with others can have a huge impact. It doesn’t even have to be volunteer work. You can make an impact on your family just by being there when they need you. Being a good friend can leave a lasting impact on someone else’s life. Even your hobbies or your work can impact others. There are so many ways that you can touch other people’s lives.
There have been so many people who have touched my life in a positive way. I wish I could remember them all. But the thing is, as long as someone remembers the kindness, the compassion, and the tenderness that you shared, your legacy will live on. Because all of those people who you touched in your life, your impact will allow them to touch the lives of others. Your compassion and kindness multiplies and spreads. It can live on far beyond your lifetime and even beyond the lifetimes of the people you cared for.
A Legacy in Shambles
Just as an honorable legacy is a powerful thing, so is a shameful legacy. There are people in this world that seem irredeemable. People that seemingly have no redemptive qualities and leave nothing but heartache and broken dreams and empty promises in their wake. You don’t have to be a ruthless dictator like Hitler or Stalin to leave a dishonorable legacy. A dishonorable legacy often has one common root cause: selfishness.
Pure narcissistic greed and selfishness is often to blame for broken hearts and shattered dreams. It may be in the form of a physically or emotionally abusive spouse. Maybe it is a neglectful parent. It could be that person who you think is such a great friend that you ultimately follow down their path of self-destruction. These are people who in their hearts find that their own wants outweigh the needs of others. They don’t care who they hurt, as long as their personal desires are fulfilled.
These legacies spread too, because oftentimes the victims never get the help that they need. And ultimately, they end up going from being the victim to being the next abuser. Going through life and never learning to cope with the pain brought on by these tormentors can cause you to continue the cycle. And just like a positive legacy can extend well beyond your lifetime, a negative legacy can spread for generations.
Legacy Building: Brick by Brick
The thing is, no one has a completely positive or completely negative legacy. Each of the positive things and each of the negative things that we do to others in our lives is like a brick. Our legacy is that wall built from all of those bricks. You may be able to hide some of those bad bricks with enough good bricks, but someone will always know that bad brick is there.
My question for you is, does your legacy wall have enough good bricks to outweigh the bad ones?
Housekeeping: I’ve run all of my old blog posts through a proofreading module to improve readability.
Teaser: Next time I’ll be discussing why I do what I do.