Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sweet Aroma or Bitter Afterbite?

The other day, I had someone ask me if I knew a "certain person." I answered yes, but it had been over 10 years since I had seen them. They proceeded to tell me that "this" person thought I was one of the nicest people and that I had a "heart of gold" and so does my daughter. I must admit...I was overwhelmed by the comment and I think it was one of the nicest compliments I have been paid for a long time...especially coming from someone that I had not even seen or talked to for over ten years.
I pondered the idea that I had made a small impact on someone's life. I had apparently left a lasting impression on her...and I was totally oblivious to it. I began thinking about the fact that EVERY single person we come in contact with EVERY single day forms some kind of impression....either positive or negative and so I thought it would be interesting to analyze it a little deeper and decided it would be worth it to do a little critiquing of my own.
Have you ever wished that you could be a fly on the wall and actually hear what other people would have to say about you if they didn't know you were listening? What would these people have to say about you? (I know, I am a brute for punishment.) The biggest problem with this is that people are too nice or they are afraid to be honest to your face. We've been taught not to hurt each others' feelings. and truthfully...can you imagine some of the things you would have to come clean about if you HAD to answer others completely honest...

"Dude, you talk to much. You're driving me crazy!"
"Well, if you asked me a question, you could at least be polite enough to pretend you were listening to my answer."
"I don't really care about your great aunt's ingrown toenail!"
"T.M.I. I didn't really need to know that about you!"
"Listen to yourself and you'll understand why you don't have any friends."
"Is there ANYTHING you don't know everything about?"
"Really...that is NONE of your business."
"Bad things always happen to you because you reap what you sow, man. If I believed in karma you would be a bad karma magnet."
"Gripe...Gripe...Gripe. That's all you do."

So...I wondered....what would people say about me? It's really hard to analyze yourself when your oblivious to your own faults and weaknesses. So, I asked my family members. (Husband, kids, sister). Believe me...THEY can be brutally honest!
But, hey, if I'm really trying to grow and change...I guess I need to hear it. But did they have to gloat so much when they were telling me?

"You always think you are right."
"You are a conversation stealer."
"You interrupt people when they are talking."
"You answer for other people."
"You are a know-it-all."
"You're pretty opinionated."
"You have to have the last word."
"You're a better talker than listener."
"You don't finish things that you start."
"You think the world revolves around YOU."

Okay, I must admit that they came up with a very good list of all of my shortcomings, of which I've listed only a few. It would be impossible to work on EVERYTHING all at once.
So I challenged myself. If I could have only a few positive phrases spoken about me...that would leave a lasting impact on others, what phrases would mean the most? What lasting impressions would I most wish to leave to this world? If I encounter someone new, would I leave a sweet aroma or would I leave a bitter, unpleasing, after bite?
I guess, here are a few of the things I would like to have said about me and to be remembered by:

"Wasn't she passionate about Jesus Christ and her family?"
"Man, she could make me laugh."
"She really had a good heart."
"She was a very giving, generous person."
"I really believe that she cared about me."
"Her children all love the Lord."
"Remember when......"
"I'm going to miss her."
"She tried..."
"She loved life and enjoyed every minute of it."
"I'll never forget her."
"She had a heart of gold."

I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I hope if I meet you, I leave you with a good first impression....and if I don't, be kind and forgiving...we all have bad days!


Gina said...

Wonderful post! This was thoughtful & well written. I love you, Mom.

Debbie said...

Oh Cathy, what a wonderful post. It gave me great thoughts to ponder. Well first I try hard to not say anything behind someone's back that I wouldn't say to their face and I would NEVER want to hear what people are saying about me. But I AM going to ask my family the same question you asked yours...and yes I will be prepared for the truth. Now if you were a fly listening to me say something about you this is what you wold hear. I think you have a wonderful spirit, are one of the nicest people I know with a quiet insight that comes out in your writings. Have a great day Cathy and consider yourself hugged.