I was sad a few weeks ago when I heard that Maya Angelou had died. I had the opportunity on two different occasions to hear her speak in person. The first time I was in a group of less than 50 attendees. The last time I saw her there were 3,000 people in the room. Both times I felt like she was talking just to me.
If I could only use one word to describe her, that word would be powerful. She was also incredibly gracious. I will never forget this one particular quote. She said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Every interaction we have with another person is a two-way street, and our relationships are either enhanced or damaged based on how we feel about the time we spend together.
Ms. Angelou’s statement makes me think about how important it is to be aware of how my actions make others feel. It also makes me aware that I can’t afford to spend my time and energy on people who are critical or negative and make me feel badly about myself.
Today I hope you’ll take a little time to think about the friends and family members with whom you have relationships. If you can accept the fact you are not obligated to like everyone you know, you might also be able to set some boundaries. If someone has repeatedly treated you badly, you can choose to end the relationship or to limit your contact with them.
You can also choose to reach out to the people who bring you up. You could let them know how much you appreciate them, and how important they are in your life. Just think about how great hearing that message from you would make them feel!