The legacy you leave is the one you live

14 May 2019 | Columns

Michelline Nawatises

Legacy… The word itself intimidates many people as it is the one thing you will be remembered for long after you are gone.

This creates a panic and much questioning about whether you are making right impact.

But think about it this way: Your legacy is truly just a reflection of what type of person you are and how people perceive your personality through your actions.

As we get older, it is important for us to begin to think about what the world is going to remember about us when we are gone and about how we can create a positive image of ourselves, which we want to leave behind.

This can assist us in creating a role for ourselves in society, where we show compassion and sensitivity for the people we meet, causing them to associate our names with a positive image.

In this hectic age of technology and new beginnings, the footprint you leave on the world becomes almost inerasable, so why not make it one to remember.

Regardless of what we spend our money on, the people we encounter or the ways we use our days, are leaving behind a record of our time here. When everything is said and done, our lives will leave an impression.

People will remember the impact we had on them or the memories they have with us. One way or another, our stories will be told. My mind is plagued by this idea - the idea that my life is a series of overlapping events, intermingling with other people’s overlapping events.

There is such a grand scale to it all - the thought that I may say something today that will have repercussions one, 10 or 30 years from now. There is an overwhelming power, but also an indescribable responsibility, in that. The thought that I can have that much influence on another person’s life is humbling.

When thinking about legacies, the word popularity comes to mind. If I am being completely honest, I have never really understood the whole popularity thing. How is it that a group of people can be considered popular by being rude to others in order to climb the social pyramid, and receive the winning prize of admiration and influence? This leads to the question: Would you rather be remembered for your unpleasant acts by a large group of people or for your selfless and kind acts by a small group of people?

There is a huge difference between creating a well-known legacy for yourself or a meaningful one.

For example, think of all the rape cases we have read about recently. Though the alleged rapist may become well-known, it is the lesser-known victims who leave behind a positive legacy rather than a negative one.

Though it may sound difficult to create a positive legacy, all you have to do is live your life with respect and kindness for others. Live your life by the philosophy: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

In this way you will be heading down the right path. Remember, it is not what you leave for others that matters, it is what you leave inside of them.

You never know how a person is going to change your life. You never know how you will change another person’s life. What you do know is how you can live out each and every day. To be remembered, do things that you will be proud of. In our world today, there are so many things that we are unable to control. The legacy that you leave behind is something that you have complete power over and you get to make the decision whether it is going to be positive or negative.

The more we learn to filter decisions through intentionality, the more it gives this whole thing a bigger purpose.

Life is a precious thing. Some of us may get 100 years on earth, some will get significantly less than that, but depending on the approach we have, we can make it one hell of a story.

Whether you are 21 or 91, if you are reading this, you have great potential inside you for good. You can be the difference in someone’s life; you can be the catalyst for something amazing in another person’s life.

While thinking about your legacy, try to answer this simple question: If you could describe yourself in one word at this moment in your life, what would it be?

Would you be happy if that’s how you were remembered?

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