What influences you every day?
When I was first asked this question years ago I gave some very typical answers. My response was that I had been influenced by inspiring and influential authors whose books I had read at that time. Authors like Napoleon Hill, Og Mandino, Norman Vincent Peale, Don Miguel Ruiz and Louise Hay. Other influences I was aware of at the time were the people I worked with every day.
A huge influence on me in childhood was the abuse I endured from both parents. In my book Let Your Light Shine! Learn how to overcome the effects of childhood abuse I shared some amazing lessons that surfaced for me years later. My abilities as a child, to adapt and survive, are the very strengths and characteristics that serve me well today. And, many of the values I hold dear came from my being opposed to the negative influences of my childhood.
Now, at a healthier point in life, I realize how much I am impacted by what is going on in the world.
Current news casts and social media contain a great deal of content on sexual abuse survivors, denial by and claims of entitlement by perpetrators, and much more.
Comments and opinions are rife on social media, in the workplace, and at the dinner table. However, like anything else in life, have you really earned the right to comment without either having personally experienced an issue, or having thoroughly researched it?
When I first launched my book, I received a great deal of support, as well as a lot of unsolicited comments. The unkind people demonstrated either their fear or ignorance of a problem that has been going on for centuries.
Of course, all the media focused on the issue of sexual abuse is definitely influencing people, and not always in respectful or helpful ways. So, I plod along, hoping to influence others in more positive ways by educating. Being better informed will help you understand the terrible crime of sexual abuse, and the horrors that victims have to deal with.
Each and every one of us has the ability to influence others – for good or not. Yes, you too.
How you choose to be an influence for others is entirely up to you. You may think that things will never change, and ‘oh, what’s the use’. If that’s the case then you may choose to influence by sitting on the fence, or denying that sexual abuse is even a real issue. I can assure you it is. Oftentimes the reason things don’t change as quickly as we want them to is because so many people adopt this attitude.
Another way to influence others is by reserving your opinions until you are better informed. You can also have a positive impact by simply stating this position to those who may be pressuring you to voice your opinion.
So, choose wisely. Get informed. Be kind. Act bravely. Stand up for what is right.
And, consider Maya Angelou’s wisdom on what influences us:
“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”