becoming the woman God needs me to be
“You won’t make money as a writer.”
“He’s an idiot.”
“Never stop holding hands.”
“You are not an accident.”
“You made him a better man.”
You don’t get to decide what will or won’t leave an impression on someone else. You don’t get to decide what will or won’t leave an impression on you.
You can try. I mean, you can say that you’re in control. That doesn’t impact me. But you’re human, and as humans we’re really bad at this. And as humans it’s really important we realize how powerful we are.
Parents of young children seem to all share this moment… the moment their child parrots what they say. It tends to have the same reaction. I didn’t realize they were paying such close attention. They sound just like me. I need to be more careful what I say.
The secret is that kids aren’t the only ones paying attention. Your influence extends beyond the minivan.
Your influence happens in the restaurant. In the meeting. In the kitchen. In your Facebook newsfeed. In your Instagram story.
Your influence happens with your words. Your habits. Your choices. Your response.
It’s a big responsibility. Being human.
Sometimes influence is less serious, less weighty.
But most times influence is weighty. It lingers. Into adulthood. Into your marriage. Into your job. Into your parenting. And influence comes in all forms. What you say. What you share. What you do. What you don’t do.
You don’t get to decide what will or won’t leave an impression, but you can improve the odds that your influence is a good one. So, what are you contributing to the world?
Some of the things that influenced me the most, were moments someone didn’t know I was paying attention. Or when someone didn’t think it was a big deal. Or they thought I shouldn’t care. But I was paying attention. It was a big deal. And I did care. They changed me and how I choose to interact with the world.
You don’t get to decide what will or won’t leave an impression on someone else.
You don’t get to decide what will or won’t leave an impression on you.
You do get to decide whether to care. Whether to try. Whether to be better.
Your words matter. You don’t get to choose whether or not they will be remembered, so take time before you choose to say them. They will push some people away. They will draw some people in. They will cause people to see themselves differently. Words can instill courage or doubt. Confidence or fear. Love or hate. Your words tell someone whether or not they matter. And we all matter.
Your habits matter. You don’t get to choose whether or not they will impact you. Or those around you. What you are exposed to can influence you. For better. For worse. So be intentional with what you choose to consume: Food. Drinks. Music. Movies. TV. Social Media. Books. Articles. When I changed what I ate, my cholesterol got better. When I changed the music I listened to, the lyrics that got stuck in my head were uplifting. When I took a break from social media my anxiety dropped and I worried less. Habits matter. For you and for those around you. Your habits can become their habits.
Your circles matter. Who you associate with changes you and it changes them. That’s why your parents were so worried about your friends growing up. Because they knew we could be influenced. But they might have missed that we had the ability to be the positive influence. We don’t always get to decide though, whether our positive influence is enough to overcome the negative.
You matter. So make the choice no matter what:
And if you find yourself in a circle, where everyone else is the latter, and you’re the only voice on the positive end of the spectrum… choose. Choose to stay and be the positive voice if you can. Choose to walk away if you need to. Choose to stay, but also find another circle to add to your life. A circle that builds you up. That encourages you. That asks how they can help you. That asks about your perspective. That responds with kindness. That introduces you to things that make you smile.
And if you find yourself in a circle, where you are the latter, you are the negative voice… Reset. Resist the temptation to get defensive. To demand you are right, or your rights. Take one step forward in a positive direction. Read something positive. Watch something positive. Ask someone positive to walk with you.
One of the hardest, most honoring moments I was ever gifted, was delivering the eulogy at my Busia’s funeral. I reread it as I was writing this. And I am reminded of her positive influence. She was not a perfect woman and she made mistakes. But her positive influence is her legacy. She was the positive in many of our circles.
What are you contributing to the world?
Because you are contributing something in every moment.
Be a human that helps other humans be better.
Be a good one.
*Thank you Emily W for Weezer, Joe M for MxPx, Joe H for Alkaline Trio… I rocked out last week getting ready for work, at work, after work and couldn’t stop smiling.