Typically a legacy refers to a financial or concrete gift left behind when someone dies. However, sometimes it is not about money but instead about emotional gifts or memories. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple who recently died, left behind a huge legacy for people everywhere; innovative ideas which improved technology to help connect human beings, sometimes more than we’d like to be connected. But maybe more importantly what Steve Jobs left us with is the memory of a man who took risks that led to great success.
You don’t have to be Steve Jobs to leave behind a meaningful legacy. If you consider your own demise one day (not something we tend to think about often), what will your legacy be? How do you want people to remember you?
What do you want them to say about you and the life you lived? If you’ve ever been to a funeral or memorial service, you probably haven’t heard, “She was a special woman, even though she was five pounds overweight.” You probably haven’t heard, “He was a great guy, too bad he couldn’t remember to pick up his socks.” The point is that many of the issues people struggle with tend to be trivial and even meaningless and if we can remind ourselves to see the bigger picture, we may feel less stressed today.
What will your legacy be? You can control it today. Here are some ways people may describe those they have lost and loved: Dedicated, loving, caring, kind, ambitious, determined, loyal, funny, sweet, gentle, smart, courageous, brave, motivated, supportive, available, present, spiritual, religious, trustworthy, reliable, a good person.
Would you like your friends and family to remember you this way? If not, how do you want them to describe you? While this may feel like a morbid way to think, the reality is we will all die; this we have no control over. But we have a lot of control over how we LIVE. Are you living the life you want to? If not, why not and what can you do today to start moving in the direction of being able to say you are living the life you want to live.
People are at their most relaxed state when their behavior matches their values and beliefs. When we are behaving in a way that doesn’t represent what we believe and value, we are stressed and in conflict. Think about if your behavior and values are in alignment and if not what can you do to get them closer together. From living this way, you will be sure to leave behind the legacy you want to your friends and family. People will remember the real you-your genuine self. Your legacy will be directly related to the life you are living today. Think about it. I imagine Steve Jobs would be pleased with how people have been talking about him and the legacy he left behind.
Don’t Come with Directions…
The Rose Relationship
Learning Center, LLC
Stacey Rose, LCSW
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