In the last week how much have you thought about your great-grandparents? I would venture to guess that most of us would answer not at all regarding these important family members. It’s a bit scary to think that in more or less three generations you will be forgotten. When my wife first thought of this idea, it immediately summoned up a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. How can the memories of us all but vanish that quickly?
I think that feeling in my stomach was my ego getting very uncomfortable. Ego or self-importance can create a great deal of unnecessary stress. Most of us think of ourselves as being important, with important things to accomplish. Sometimes when this self-importance gets a little over-grown in our minds we start to exaggerate the things that don’t matter in our lives. A large amount of unnecessary stress can come from “sweating the small stuff.” Realizing how brief and rather insignificant our life is can put things into perspective.
I like to use this exercise of knowing that I’ll be forgotten as a tool when I’m stressed and I need to manage my thoughts. Dr. Wayne Dyer calls it “being the observer.” In other words, stepping back and realizing that in the grand scheme of things we are but a small piece of something larger and these trivial worries that start to run our lives are so tiny that it is laughable in how much it invades our well-being.
There’s nothing wrong with being forgotten in three generations, in fact it can be very comforting. Who is going to remember my shortcomings, mistakes and failures? Why should I ruin my health and enjoyment of life stressing about everyday problems? Why shouldn’t I take risks and do what I love without fear of failure or what others think? When we see that we aren’t all that high and mighty, our sense of self-importance gets out of the way and allows for what really matters to surface.