Today, as I woke up at 7am with my (almost) 10 month old and was watching him through foggy, sleepy eyes as he was playing… I began thinking about how much my life has changed and how different I am as a person now. This reflection led me to realize that I have been influenced and inspired by so many people– actually, every single person that I have ever met. While I was thinking about this I came across an awesome quote:
“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known.”
Doesn’t that sum it up perfectly? I’m not just talking about the people who have left great impressions on me and inspired me to be a better person, I am also talking about the less than great people who I have met, at the very least these people have shown me who I do not want to be.
One of my cousins posted a quote on Facebook a few years ago that really made me think… It said, “Live in such a way that those who know you, but don’t know God, will come to know God, because they know you.” Before seeing my cousin post this quote I hadn’t made the connection between her and my renewed relationship with God. There was a period of a few years when I didn’t take care of my relationship with God. I only remembered to pray if something tragic was happening instead of giving thanks to him everyday, it is no coincidence that during the time when I had neglected to care for my relationship with God… I was going through the darkest parts of my life. Upon reconnecting with my family (during the prime of Myspace and the beginning of Facebook) I was inspired to regain my relationship with God and my life has been so much better because of it.
This was just one example of how someone changed my life without knowing it. Another example occurred on a few days when I would get frustrated with my children. On these days I would often run across one of my “mommy” friends posting a story of something they were doing with their children that day. In that moment, I felt like a failure… why was I getting frustrated with my amazing kids when I could be doing something to strengthen our bond? In these moments of failure I learned patience and that being frustrated by life happens to everyone, but it is how you respond to these trials that determines who you are as a person. I have altered my entire parenting style because of these inspiring friends of mine.
Drawing inspiration from negative people is less obvious, but equally important. Have you ever had someone in your life who talked about someone as soon as they left the room? …. I have. They would talk negatively about whoever wasn’t there at the time and then smile and lie to their face when they were present. It takes a lot to not get pulled into this type of behavior, and I’m not saying that I haven’t engaged in this negativity–because I have. I’m not proud of it, but it has led me to realize that whoever has negative things to say about everyone else when they aren’t around… are saying the same negative things about you when you aren’t around too. But why? Why waste time focusing on the negative in people? Wouldn’t it be more productive and rewarding to focus on the good in people? Why is it so much harder to do that? I am still working on this, but I have made such great strides in this area that I refuse to turn back now :)
…I haven’t told most people about the impact that they have had on my life, but I hope that when someone sees something good in me– they are able to attribute a portion of it to their own character and realize the impact they have had on me.