“Life is short” sounds a little cliche, but it is the truth. Life guarantees none of us a certain amount of time on this planet. There isn’t a free trial we can cancel, the opportunities for a redo are few, and our relationships matter.
Why should you think about how people will remember you? After all, you will be gone. The reason is, by living life in a way that means people will look back on you fondly, you can experience some of life’s best things. Below are five key areas you can devote some energy to that will go a long way in how people remember you.
People will remember how you treat them, so it is a good idea to be aware of the impression you leave people with. In order to live a life that people remember, you might have to be here for a few years, so make your health a priority.
We can also inspire others who see us living our dreams and taking risks to live a fulfilled life. When we model things like perseverance and strength, we inspire others around us to do the same. Being remembered means we made memories with those we love, and we do that through shared experiences.
“It will be worth it if I am remembered, if not flatteringly, then at least with some small amount of accuracy.” ― Patrick Rothfuss
Pay attention to other people’s feelings
While we are not responsible for how others choose to feel, we are responsible for our behavior. Our actions have consequences. Worrying about how other people feel can cause anxiety. It doesn’t serve us well to worry about things we can’t change. However, by focusing on our behavior and the actions we take, we can influence the impact we have on those around us.
For example, if someone asks you to do something and you cannot, respond in a timely manner and let them know you cannot do that right now. It’s mean if you just ghost them in their hour of need.
However, responding compassionately will enable them to reach out to someone else and preserve your relationship. If you can help someone and you choose to do that, you will help yourself as well.
According to researchers at the University of Pittsburg, “Providing support to others activates a neural pathway in the brain that boosts our wellbeing.” Helping other people also lowers activity in the amygdala, which is the region of our brain that governs stress and fear.
There are other benefits to helping people like:
- Fostering a sense of belonging and community
- It gives you a sense of purpose
- It boosts your self-esteem
- Helps us experience gratitude and is contagious
Being helpful is not the only thing we can control when it comes to how we treat others. We can also choose to be kind. When you make a conscious effort to be kind, which is something the recipients of your kindness will surely remember, it can improve your mood.
The Mayo Clinic also states that acts of kindness release dopamine and serotonin. It is easy to be kind, and when we are kind to others, we leave them in a better state than we found them. So, go out of your way to treat others a little better, without needless worrying, and you will build a reputation for being someone people genuinely enjoy being around.
“…it does not matter if we are forgotten; what matters is the effect we have on those around us and those who come after us. What matters is how our own lives affect the larger, perpetual community of the living.” ― Lynn Schooler
Make healthy choices that will ensure you are around for a while
Clearly being kind and helpful have health benefits like reduced stress, improved mood, and higher self-esteem, but it is also important that you take care of yourself. The longer you have to interact with people over the course of your lifetime, the more apt they are to remember you later.
Living long enough to have a meaningful relationship with your grandchildren, friends, or spouse is critical to being remembered by those people. Eat healthy foods, exercise, and treat your body like it is the only one you have… because it is! Those unhealthy habits that you might have are shortening your life.
Stress is also bad for your health because of the toll it takes on your body. Self-care is important in combatting stress, but so is how you live your life. Are you working a job that you hate? Do you have a dream that you put on the back burner? These things are bad for your health and when we are depressed with where we are in life, the people who mean the most to us see it.
“It was good that she remembered him, though it was exhausting to do so. No rest for the weary. Or the dying. Or the dead.” ― Ryan Graudin, Invictus
Go after your dreams and take a few risks
Something powerful happens when we decide to follow our dreams. The sense of purpose that comes from doing what you know you were meant to do is like none other.
Following your dreams fills you with a passion that you can share with others. This passion is an opportunity for you to fill others with hope and inspire them to live up to their potential. They will see you doing it and know that is possible. What an honor it would be to be remembered as the person who inspired someone to reach for the stars and take the risk of following their dreams.
Chasing your dreams and taking risks almost certainly leads to some false starts and failures. That is another thing that you can role model for your children or anyone else in life that you want to remember you.
They will see how you handle setbacks, pick yourself up, and carry on towards your goal. They will know that it took hard work and effort, but that you were strong enough to keep going. Not only will they remember that about you, but they will learn those behaviors for themselves.
“You have to stand out, do something, to be remembered.” ― Patricia Hamill, Fearless
Be a model of perseverance for those around you
Perseverance is an important trait to model and shows others that anything is possible regardless of the challenges you face. Ella Woods reminds us of four important steps for preserving and responding to failure. She calls them the 4R’s:
- Replay – This step is about analyzing the things you did and comparing them to your expectations.
- Relax – It is important to calm any nerves or feelings of angst before trying again.
- Ready – Decide how you will do things differently and try again with a plan of action.
- Redo – Imagine yourself doing it better using your action plan. Visualize the goal you have in mind and follow through with another attempt.
These tips will work for every aspect of life, and people will remember you for always responding to failure in a way that helped you grow.
“How do you want to be remembered? ~As someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.” ― J. K. Rowling
Spend less on things and invest in experiences instead
Everyone’s version of success and failure looks different, much the same as everyone’s goals and dreams are different. For many people, they center these things around material items.
However, if you are looking for a legacy to leave behind that has people remembering you fondly, then one way to do that is to focus on the experiences you share with the people who matter.
Explore new restaurants, activities, or places. Instead of getting a new car when you don’t need one, go on a weekend trip to somewhere you have never been.
Nice things are fun to have, but they don’t build bonds and memories with people the way new experiences do. Now if you want to buy things like an RV, that you can get some use out of while making memories, that might be a sound investment!
“Gifts are temporary and often forgotten; love is forever and always remembered.” ― Ken Poirot
The bottom line is to figure out the type of person you want people to remember you as. Once you know who that is, then you take steps and choose behaviors that put you on the path to being that person.
The steps you take to reach the person you want to be remembered for will help you have a fulfilling life while you are here, and people will want to spend it with you. Hopefully, you have years to build memories and become the person you want to be.
It is also never too late to make some changes and grow into the person you want to be. It will be difficult, but a legacy of love and happiness would be great to leave behind with those who were most important to you.