The Truth of Memory

16 Jul

People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel.

~Maya Angelou

This is such a deep truth.

Whether we feel joyful, inspired, manipulated, bored, angry, loved, disgusted, or wounded… we remember.

Why did that person make you smile so much? It may be hard to say, but you want to see that person again, don’t you?

What was that fight about? You aren’t sure, but you are not looking forward to talking to that person.

I have been thinking about communication recently and I believe that this quote is the simplest, clearest guideline I have ever read regarding interpersonal communication.

Sometimes I fail in this area.

When I was young, I was very quiet. As I aged and gained experience, I decided to sacrifice some of my caution and privacy and become more open and more casual in my interactions.

Sometimes I think I need some of my caution back, not only to protect myself but to protect others.

I may say the right words with the right intent and still fail to interact in satisfactory way. My timing may have been off. My tone of voice may have been wrong.

By the way, although I am writing about my own social weaknesses, this post was not inspired by my own failures but by someone else’s failure… someone made me feel unimportant . I know it was not intentional, and I know it is not actually true, and yet…there is the feeling in my memory.

I want to create positive emotional memories in others. I am challenging myself to remember Maya Angelou’s words and use them to improve my relationships and first impressions.

4 Responses to “The Truth of Memory”

  1. bigsheepcommunications July 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    That’s one of my very favorite quotes. Always makes me think of my grandmother, who would hug me like I was the most precious thing in the world : )

  2. SaveAmericaAlliance July 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Wise words. Our lives should be dedicated to making every contact we make happier because they met us.

  3. l0ve0utl0ud July 23, 2012 at 2:02 am #

    Very interesting quote. Don’t take notice of the person who made you feel insignificant, as it is certainly how they are feeling themselves and why they were lead to such behaviour.

  4. Deborah the Closet Monster August 28, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    My brother-in-law was the first to introduce this to me. I can’t remember the exact context, but I do very much recall how it made me feel. There was–and is–such warmth in intuitively understanding its truth.

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