I liken myself in many ways to a butterfly. A typical week for me involves meeting a lot of different people in many varied environments, also communicating frequently through social media with people from around the world, on many contrasting subjects. I know a lot of people, and a lot of people know me. In fact strangely, I know many more people now, than when I was travelling the world for my work.
The reason for this weeks post is that I was extremely moved by a gesture made to me by one of my fellow patients, which prompted me to think about life, for the entire duration of that session, (approx 4 hours.) As most of you may know, we are in the month of Ramadan. On my rota of treatment, is a Muslim lady who speaks very little English. When we see each other, we wave, and wish each other luck. There seems to be a universal language that everyone understands, when you have cancer!
As soon as I walked into the room, I acknowledged everyone, but her face lit up and her son rushed over to me with a bag. This bag contained a bottle of beautiful aftershave, to celebrate Ramadan!! Wow, that absolutely blew me away. What a lovely thought.
At the end of my session, one of the staff approached me and had seen what had happened. She told me that so many of the patients and staff within the department ask about me. I had no idea. She explained the positive impact I had on everyone. My interpretation was, I came to the ward, said hello to everyone, settled into my chair, and listened to my music. Ok, I did do a bit of chatting 🙂 But that is just my way.
If I am honest, I have not really consciously considered the impact that I may have on other peoples lives, for a long time. Maybe stretching back to when I was learning my trade as a salesman. Then, my income depended on it, so I always thought long and hard about my approach to customers. Even then, I never considered talking to people a ‘science.’ Be polite, show a genuine interest in the person you are talking to, and make them feel comfortable in your presence, were my basic rules. I use the same ones when engaging on social media.
These days we tend to have very little time for reflection, in our day to day lives, and I doubt if many of us even think about the effect we may have on other people, as we go about our daily chores. If I was working, I probably wouldn’t either! But when I dig deeper into my own relationships, there are always certain people I am happy to see or hear from, as often as possible, but others not so.
We are all different of course, it’s a wonderful world with the variety of people, and we reflect our individual personalities wherever we go. Of course it is impossible to be ‘all things to all men,’ but all relationships need some give and take, and work best when both parties do a bit of each!
The ‘cancer world’ has introduced me to so many incredible people, both professionals and patients. It has placed me into situations I have never ever experienced, and I have had to do things in the way that I consider to be right. It is like learning a new business, and starting as an apprentice, but it seems that my basic principles of communication have served me well.
We get very little time, to make an impression, and people are very quick to make up their minds about us. My aims is always to try and leave a positive memory. Are you conscious of the impact you may have on other people?
What a timely post. It’s so interesting to hear your experience in interacting with others and that impact. How lovely that people are asking after you – you must have a gift at lighting up the world 🙂
Your questions is very thought-provoking. I know my impact on my husband because we’re so open, and some of my close friends – but beyond that, I’m not really too sure! Can we every fully know how we’ve impacted our worlds? ~Catherine
Thank you! I don’t know about lighting up the world, but I can seem to get a smile from most people. But I hadn’t really considered it. Like most of us, I just went about my daily stuff. It was this incident and the conversation afterwards that set me thinking.
We tend to know our impact on our partners or close friends as we know each other so well, but we tend not to consider the affects on people we meet briefly.
I guess we can never know until, like in this case I was told. But I will certainly think about this more when I meet people. Particularly in a hospital environment.
As always Catherine, so lovely to hear from you, and thank you so much for your as ever, insightful comments. Chris
What a lovely post, Chris and how great to get this feedback. Self awareness and curiosity about others is really great mix. I like the leave a positive memory
The whole experience just made me think about how other people see us, and in a lot of cases it is not at all how we imagine! It is a great mix!
Always try to leave a positive memory, that is a must for me 🙂
Thank you for dropping by to comment, your experience is very valued. Chris
Chris, I loved this post and I can feel the positive vibe that you must give out to others. I teach for a living; sometimes it’s easy to forget the impact I have on students. And it so happens, that I’m blown away each time a student has told me I’ve made a profound difference in his/her life.
Thank you for this excellent, thought-provoking post.
Thank you so much for your comments. That day really made me think about the impact we have on others. I can imagine how you must feel as a teacher, you have a great opportunity to influence lives, in that profession.
It really is moving when someone takes the trouble to demonstrate that you have had a positive impact in their life.
I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post and thanks for taking the time to comment. It also means a lot when people write it too :))