Maya Angelou gave us this invaluable quote,
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This is an incredibly powerful bit of information. How you make someone feel is how they will remember you. It can change your entire relationship with them. Try to think of a time someone made you feel a certain way. Now, when you are around that person, does that feeling come back up? I bet it does!!! Let’s look at a couple examples…
The Big Argument
Have you ever had a big argument with someone where they will say the worse things possible just to hurt your feelings? The kind of situation where the other person wants to “win” the argument and put you in your place. They will throw everything they have at you, including the kitchen sink, to try to hurt you. Eventually they say something that cuts you to the bone. An intense feeling of shock, disbelief, and hurt consumes you. That’s the feeling I am talking about. Now, fast forward a year and this person who hurt your feelings is still in your life. I bet when you are around them this feeling is still kinda there. Sure, you shove it down, but it is still there. You don’t even remember what they said, but you remember how they made you feel.
A Compliment Received
I received a compliment the other day, via a third party, regarding something very positive that was said about me. The person who said the compliment didn’t know I would be told, so they had no motive to say it besides just being honest. I have to say that the compliment made me feel kinda good. Not that we should require compliments to feel good, as I surely don’t, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a bit flattered. Now, the next time I am around that person, I can already see myself enjoying their company even more. I can see myself showing them excitement when greeting them and wanting to make them feel good. Just because they, with no alterier motive, made me feel good. I will eventually forget what they said, but I won’t forget how I felt because of it.
Our words can lift people up or cut them down. If the cut is shallow, you can repair the damage with positive actions and words. You can replace the feeling of hurt pretty quickly with some positive interactions with the person and lift them up. But if the cut is deep, you may have to really put a lot of effort in repairing the relationship. It is not impossible, but it takes time and experiences to make it happen.
Also remember that positive words can make people feel great and lift them up. If you do that, they will look forward to being around you. They will be excited to see you and you will be awesome in their eyes. I am not suggesting you blow smoke up their wazoo to create these feelings. The words and actions must be honest and shown with integrity. This can drastically increase your relationship with them and others whom you show genuine respect and consideration of.
Remember that “…people will never forget how you made them feel”, so use your words wisely and think before you speak and act. Always lift people up!!!