Archive for June, 2012

Behave As If This Is The Day You Will Be Remembered

June 21, 2012

I often quote Dr. Seuss because I think he was a great educator and an amazing philosopher. I also like the way he rhymed. I like his writing in a boat. I like his writing with a goat.  One of my favorite “Seuss-a-quotes” is this one: “Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.”

This is an affirmation that could go a long way toward improving people’s attitudes and enhance relationships, if we would only consider the impact of the words and the thought behind them. What if every day, we all behaved as if our actions were going to be our legacy?  What if we acted as if every interaction we had with another person was going to be recorded for all eternity? Yikes…scary stuff!!

However, sometimes the things that we say and do in a snapshot moment ARE the things for which we will be remembered.  A remark or an action could possibly make an indelible impression on someone else’s life. If you are being unkind, it might be just a “bad mood” moment for you; but if it causes harm to another person, that could be the impression of you that they will carry with them forever. On the other hand, the kind word or gesture that you offer might just make someone else’s day; giving them the boost they need, and they will remember that, as well!

Most of us have heard the question, “What would you want people to say about you at your funeral?” Personally, I would like them to remark about how long I managed to stay alive! Then, I’d like them to remember that I always tried to be kind and helpful. I would hate to think that someone’s last memory of me would be that I growled, snarled or hissed at them! I’m not always successful, but whenever I think of Dr. Seuss’ quote, I try to pull in my troll horns and neutralize any negativity that might be radiating from me.

I think it is about trying to do the right thing in all situations. If someone drops a stack of papers, even if you are having a bad day and feel like kicking them out of the way….helping to pick them up is the right thing to do. When everyone is in a mad rush to get into an elevator; it is usually polite to refrain from knocking down and/or stepping on weaker people. And if someone is being mean to you, it is difficult to refrain from matching their snarkiness; but in doing so, you are elevating yourself above the venomous pool of negativity and that is the better choice.

Why should we care how we are remembered? Not for our own glory, but because we all live on this planet together and the more we enhance and help each other; the better off we are. And because we can find more joy in life if we don’t devote too much time to getting even or making sure we always win. And because if we live that message, and people remember how nice it feels to be treated kindly….maybe they will continue to pay it forward and pass it on! There are no guarantees…but it’s worth a try.



June 1, 2012

It has recently occurred to me that most people are afraid to let their authentic selves be seen. We seem to spend a lot of time and energy trying to mask who we really are; for fear that others won’t like us if they really get to know us. This seems rather ironic, since underneath it all, we really just want to be loved and appreciated for who we are…without pretense.

It sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it? We keep putting on layers of protective coating and building walls around ourselves so that we don’t get hurt. Then, we wonder why we can’t feel authentic and just enjoy being; without having to be constantly concerned about how the world perceives us.  We wonder why people can’t just like us the way we are! But…most of the time, we don’t give others the chance to even get to know who we really are! That makes about as much sense as wearing gloves during a manicure!

I think it is in the unexpected times of sorrow or fear that we allow ourselves to remove the masks and see that we are all really on the same ground.   While sitting in an emergency room and waiting nervously for test results, I looked at all of the other people in the same situation…patients and their loved ones alike. Everyone was worried, scared, sick or lonely. We were all just people, hoping for good news and wishing we were somewhere else. It didn’t matter who had the most money, who had achieved the most success, or who had the best hairstyle. Everyone looks the same in a hospital gown with the back flapping open! We are all just bald beneath our hair and naked beneath our clothes.

As a child, I loved to play dress-up, and when I was in costume, I became that character! I tried to use it to my advantage. As a royal princess, I certainly could not be expected to clean my room and surely, my mother would not ask a pirate to take out the trash…especially one with an eye patch! Unfortunately, she saw things differently and had no qualms about reminding me that she knew who I really was underneath those clothes and wigs.

As an adult, sometimes, I still find myself pretending to be something else if I don’t think the real me measures up to the occasion…although I rarely wear pirate pants and an eye patch. It might be ego, fear, past experiences or maybe just the human condition which causes us to do these things, but I think we all deny our authentic selves every now and again.  I know a man who can only speak in front of a group if he wears glasses, even though he doesn’t need them for vision. He hides behind them and in his mind, it’s not him speaking…it is another character, so there is no chance of him feeling inadequate.

We all need to remember that each one of us is a pretty amazing creature just as we are, and no fictional representation could possibly measure up to the real deal!