Sunday, May 22, 2016

Purposeful Living

I suppose that there are times in everyone's life that one wonders about their purpose in life.
To be honest, I'm not certain that I know just what my purpose is. That makes it pretty difficult to live a purposeful life without knowing what it might be. It also makes wondering -- "What's the point?" -- a much more frequent thought.

Fortunately, there are occasions when you get to hear some words of encouragement or affirmation from people. Sometimes you are blessed to see success stories and you know that you had a small part in them.

I've learned to tune in to those kinds of subtle messages. At first, I thought that I might be stretching in order to feel like I was doing something worthwhile, but I started noticing bits of thanks and encouragement coming from unlikely places and often where I wasn't really intent on having any impact on somebody's life.
...And that has had an impact on my own life!

When somebody tells you something like -- "Years ago, you said something that I've never forgotten and it's really helped me..." -- you start to pay more attention to the things you are saying. It's rare that I've had anybody say -- "Years ago, you said something that I've never forgotten and it really hurt me..." -- but I'm certain that it's happened more often than I'd care to admit.

I'm pretty convinced that I've said way too many inconsequential things and hurtful things over the years and way too few words of encouragement or helpful words of wisdom. Today, I tend to talk less and listen more.  (Talking less is a relative thing, so I probably still talk too much.)
Recently, I've seen or heard things that have reminded me of being both helpful and hurtful in the past.
What we say and how we say it really does matter.

With each people encounter of the day, I get to choose how I will be remembered at the end of the day.
Will that person say, "I saw John today. He was a real jerk!"
Or will they have a more pleasant memory of our meeting.
And frankly, they may not even recall that we met during the day.

In any case, I can at least choose not to be a jerk -- or better yet; to actually be nice.
That probably comes way more easily for most of you than it does for me. It would seem that my natural inclination is to be a jerk. Whenever I am not paying very close attention to not being a jerk, the ugly just seems to come out.
When I get those rare affirmations that I actually was a nice guy -- well, it does encourage me to keep trying.

So --
if somebody has been an encouragement to you somewhere along life's road, you might want to tell them.
They may be unaware of how they have helped you along the way.

And --
YOU may have an opportunity to be an encouragement to somebody. Sometimes we don't even have to have anything to say -- we just need to be there to listen. And listening without saying anything can often be more difficult than offering some meaningless or unwelcome words.

Listen more.
Talk less.
(My words of wisdom for today)

John <><


eViL pOp TaRt said...

John, I cannot imagine you being negative or a jerk; you are so supportive and encouraging. Worry not!

John Hill said...

Oh, Angel!
It is easy to be someone we are not on the internet!
Unfortunately, many that have experienced me in person would tell you a much different story!