Guest blog post by Nelly Sanchez-Rivera, Director of Media & Public Relations for OnFire Books Writing Company.
I always thought legacy was a luxury reserved for the wealthy and, if you really think about it, it is.
One must possess a certain wealth of wisdom, compassion, and courage to leave behind a legacy of any real worth. The value of your legacy is in how it affects people. Perhaps, yours is a local legacy, or simply familial. Some legacies start small but ring so true they reach a universal appeal that practically guarantees their life message will be propagated for generations to come. Many of these begin under the guise of something simpler: the genuine desire to make a difference.
Something as simple as what you’d like to see practiced in your own family or community can reach others so profoundly that it changes them. They not only see your vision, they embrace it and what’s more, they adopt it. How much good could you do by just sharing what works for you with others? Think of the difference you could make in the lives of those who want to change but don’t know how or where to begin.
I suppose the real question is: how honest are you willing to be?
It takes wisdom, compassion, and courage to be honest on the level in which you are real. When the pretenses slip away, what’s left? To be real is the legacy I would like to leave behind for my son and for future generations.
The Elements of Being Real
#1. Wisdom: The truth shall set you free
Deciding to live authentically is the first step to wisdom. You must create the time and space to regularly reflect on what’s true and real to you. These things may change over time and with experience, but your authenticity shouldn’t. It is an absolute must to be honest with yourself and others. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time and everyone else’s.
The more honest you are with yourself, the more wisdom you’ll attain. You don’t build wisdom through deceit, denial, or intellectualization, you build it by being honest. Above all, be honest with yourself. The more authentically you understand your truth, the better you’ll share it, and the greater its appeal and impact on the lives of others.
#2. Compassion: The greatest love of all
We are all part of something greater than ourselves, whether it’s natural or divine, or something else entirely. Each of us is a part of the human race and as such, none of us is born with all of the answers, but we all seek them. When others share their life lessons authentically, you feel compassion for them in much the same way that others will feel compassion for you, for sharing what’s real.
Sharing what’s real requires compassion in the form of forgiveness. You can’t share your real story without having forgiven yourself and those that have hurt you. And, we’ve all been hurt by someone. The greatest wisdom you can show is compassion. It’s the greatest act of love you can perform with yourself and others. A legacy of compassion, love and forgiveness is eternal.
#3. Courage: To be real
Having the courage to be yourself, to garner wisdom authentically and cultivate compassion, is at the root of the legacy I would like to leave behind, if only for my son. All the wisdom and compassion in the world is lost if one doesn’t have the courage to act on it. The test of a one’s character isn’t in knowledge or even what’s in one’s heart, it’s in one’s actions. It’s about what you do.
Courage is the backbone of your legacy. To forgive, love and live with compassion and courage is all the wisdom you’ll need for a lifetime.
What’s your legacy?…