Each day you open your eyes in the morning you have the opportunity to create a legacy. You don’t have to be a superhero or famous actor to leave an example of a well-lived life. You and I influence each person we talk to on the phone, the people we pass on the street and even the people driving the car behind us. Our influence is wide and varied. So the question is: how do you want people to remember you? This is not a question of what your eulogy will focus on or what is said in the newspaper clipping after you pass on. What about today? What about the people you talk to in the grocery store or at the bank? Will they be impressed with your attitude and level of caring? Or will they silently think to themselves that they are glad you went on your way?
Life is a Choice
The way you choose to talk to people and hold their attention is a minute-to-minute choice. Perhaps you have reason to be frustrated that your loved one will not wear his or her hearing aids. Before you confront anyone you have a decision to make. How are you going to speak to that person? Are you going to belittle that person and put him in his place in an effort to have him do what you want? Will you present your case to the individual with respect and support?
You Can Change Only You
You can create a happy, growth-oriented life at any age…for you. You are not able to force or trick your loved ones to change. What you are able to do is focus on you and the way you interact with people. You can set an example of flexibility and strength. Strength can be shown through consistent respectful interaction with others. It is easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and respond with rudeness or indifference. It takes moment-to-moment effort to maintain joy and satisfaction in a less than positive environment.
The Stranger and the Loved One
Think about how you answer a question from a stranger and then how you answer that same question from your long-time life partner. Do you find yourself being more patient and less judgmental with the stranger than the ones you live with? If hearing loss is part of the issue, are you willing to make accommodation? Have you chosen to present yourself differently in public than you do behind closed doors? Why is this? If you find yourself behaving differently for some people than others you know now that you are capable of showing the same respect for all people.
Habits are the foundation of our existence. Imagine tying your shoes without the motion of muscle memory habit. The habits involved in driving the car or chewing your food are necessary learned behaviors. If you had to concentrate with each movement, your life would be much more complicated. Each of us has well developed habits of how to speak. The habit of speaking to a hearing impaired person from another room makes communication frustrating. Habits are a choice. Habits can be changed.
I see couples every day in my office having difficulty communicating because of hearing loss. Some of the relationships are amazing, filled with respect and support for each other. Some of the relationships are unhappy, filled with unmet expectations and disappointment. This is because we as individuals forget to strive for a happy existence. We fall into habits that are not healthy for us or our loved ones. We choose to become lazy when we see the same person every day and forget the choice we made in the past to be supportive and approachable. Not being able to hear easily will contribute to frustration and stress in any relationship.
Create Your Legacy
Choose to leave a legacy filled with laughter, compassion for yourself and others. Create a life today that says, “I accept the changes in my body and life with love and respect and I do the same for you.” “I choose to leave behind an example of a person who made a difference in the lives of the people I meet every day.” “I want my family and friends to know that self-love and self-respect were the foundation of my love to other people.” FBN
By Dr. Karon Lynn, Au.D.