Labels are a big deal, aren’t they? We label ourselves with our lifestyle choices. We label our parenting styles. We even label our clothes so they don’t get lost. As a society, we rely on labels to function and so everything we do is dictated by these labels. Do you want to be known as pushy? Nice? Compassionate? Boring? Each of these words is just another way of labelling your personality to put you into a nice little box for someone to judge you. The thing is, not all labels are bad.
You want to be known as someone who lived their life in a good way, with a kind outlook and a compassionate disposition. When people talk about you or mention you in any way, you want to be discussed as good to be around, respectful and open to opinions. No one wants to be known as egotistical, ornery or snobbish, even if those things make up a part of your personality. How we are remembered in life is vital to how we feel about ourselves and how we ultimately end up living. All the makeup and beauty products in the world cannot make you a good person if you are behaving in an ugly way or having ugly thoughts about yourself and those around you.
Take a moment to imagine what life would be like if you died. Have an ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ five minutes and picture how people would think about you. Would you leave a hole in the heart of someone else if you no longer existed? Imagine how an obituary would read about you. Take yourself over to www.afterlife.co now and read real obituaries of people who have passed. Really soak up the words used and think about how you would like to be viewed. It sounds like a shocking thing to do, but the only real way to see what you bring to those around you is to know how you would like to be viewed. If you are already becoming aware that you do not live or work in a way that is meaningful or makes others happy, then it’s time to work around that and start right now a life that has more meaning. It’s not about faith or religion, here, it’s all about how you perceive yourself and how you would like others to perceive you.
We each leave a legacy on this planet, and that legacy is not always in the form of children. Think about the events from centuries ago, kings and queens that once lived and ruled and how their actions changed the course of history. How are you changing the course of history? It doesn’t have to be big in the sense that you’ve planned and built the next Titanic. In your community and circle of colleagues and friends, you leave an imprint. They’ll talk about you after you’re gone and you want those words to be ones of love and respect. The only person who is accountable for you is you, and the only person accountable for the way you live your life is you. Your parents teach you right from wrong, how to walk and talk and usually the rules for being a good and kind person. But it’s up to you to choose right, to keep talking sense and be that person they raised you to be.
It’s an unfortunate fact, but many people live their lives on autopilot. They put the pieces of their lives into neat little boxes and tick them off one by one. Career, marriage, children, retirement, possibly a yacht. All of these boxes are small goals we believe we have to follow and while these aren’t necessarily a bad thing, they are a way to set yourself up for a crash. It’s hard to be mindful of the life you are living until you crash, or have an experience that wakes you up to make you realise the way you have chosen to live is just not the right pathway. Think of Ebenezer Scrooge, and how his method of living made him and those around him miserable. He may be a storybook character, but we base much of our own morals on stories, and Charles Dickens perfectly encompassed the importance of living a life that has meaning and love within it, rather than one of misery.
If you are a parent, it’ll be important to you to live in a way that is inspirational for your children. You want them to look up to you in wonder and awe. You want them to follow in your footsteps and believe that the ground you walk on is paved in gold and glitter. They cannot do that if you aren’t being compassionate and selfless. Humans are naturally selfish beings, and the way we live isn’t always going to be for the benefit of others. It would be daft to assume that would be the case. But if you want to be remembered long after you leave this world, you have to make the memories good ones! You need to make your life so rich in experiences and fun and love, that you have a funeral packed with people and an obituary twenty pages long because there just aren’t enough good things to say about you.
You can enrich your life simply by fast-forwarding to your death and truly being hit in the face with the impact you have on other people. You want to understand how your words and actions affect those around you and how you appear to others. Those labels we mentioned earlier? Just because labels are put upon you, doesn’t mean you have to live to them. If there is someone in your life that believes you to be miserable or boring, you and you alone have the power to change that and be someone more than you are believed to be. Live your life enjoying it and be aware of the death ahead of you so that you can be remembered in the best way possible.