04 December 2010

What I'd Like to Hear

We’ve all heard things about ourselves that we never were meant to hear–someone else is talking about us, and we hear it when we’re not supposed to.  We’ve all left rooms only to hear someone who thinks we’re out of earshot make a comment about us.  We’ve seen movies in which this happens and a character is hurt or mortified or angered, and the rest of the movie deals with the fallout from the careless words that are overheard.

When I think about this sort of thing, though, I start to think:  What would I like to hear if someone were talking about me and didn’t know I could hear them?  I can think of a lot of words that would be pleasant to hear, but also words that would reaffirm that what I try to do with and in my life is serving some positive purpose.  Words that would let me know that my true inner self is shining through, that people truly can see what I’m trying to be–and that I’ve been somewhat successful in my attempts.

Some of the words might be:

“He’s a really honest person.”
“I like the way he treats me with respect.”
“He puts a lot of effort into everything he does.”
“He’s the kind of person I’d like to have in my corner if I’m having problems.”
“He’s a very generous person.”
“I’d trust him with anything.”
“I’m glad I know him.”

These are just a few examples of words that would show that I’m having a positive effect somewhere, somehow in this world.  What kinds of words would you like to hear if you overheard someone talking about you?

And more importantly, what kinds of things would you have to do–what kind of person would you have to be–in order to cause anyone to say those things about you?  What can you do today?  Right now?

That’s the main reason I think about things like this, for I know that if I want to cause people to say certain things about me, then my behavior has to cause them to say those things.  People won’t say anything about me behind my back that they don’t honestly feel to be true, and I hope that my behavior will cause them to speak well of me, as a person who cares deeply about other people, and who always gives his best to anything that he does.

Live so that when your children think of
fairness, caring, and integrity,
they think of you.

H. Jackson Browne, Jr.

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