Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Power to Influence

Not long ago I made a minor mistake. I apologized. What I received for my apology was a single sentence that was thought out and constructed to make me feel small in front of others. It wasn't any big deal. I didn't let his opinion define me as he doesn't even know me. I admit that I did let his words float around in my head the rest of the day and they had the power to bring me down a bit. I still don't know exactly how to control those kind of thoughts but by the end of the day I had pretty much wrestled that one to the ground.

I have attended enough communication and relationship workshops to know that no one but myself is responsible for how I feel. Others can try to demean me or lift me up, but the ultimate responsibility for my feelings is me. Yea, yea, yea.... I know that. But, like most people, I allow the words of others to affect how I feel about myself, at least for the moment.

By contrast, I have so many friends and family that make me feel valued. Again, I know that only I am responsible for my feelings but they make it so much easier for me to feel good about myself! That's what I want to do for others as well. I want to make it easier for people in my day to feel good about themselves.

I don't want to pass out empty compliments but I do want to notice people more. Sometimes that may be what they need the most, just to be noticed. I'm going to try harder this week to do that. If someone bags my groceries with good care, I want to thank them and let them know that I noticed. If a patient is showing courage in the face of great fear, I want to commend them. Perhaps they haven't attended all those relationship workshops and they will allow me to influence how they feel. If so, I'd better use that power wisely and use it for good.

How about you? Do you have stories of times someone's words helped you feel better about yourself?

“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.” 

― Maya Angelou


Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Lots of truth in this post, Emily. And, though we do ultimately have the choice to allow someone to influence our lives... most of us are very vulnerable, very impacted by the words and actions of others. So, you are wise to strive to use your words and actions carefully. blessings ~ tanna

Maria Rose said...

I agree. I am always amazed at the impact words can have to harm or to heal. Makes me more mindful of what I say. What do I want to put into someone's life?

Who's Emily?

Michelle said...

"I'd better use that power wisely and use it for good." Such wise words--thanks for the reminder. And also for the reminder about sincerity. I once knew a woman whom I hated to see come into the place where I worked. She spread so much artificial sweetness around, calling me "honey" or "sweetie" and such, that I felt like I needed a shower by the time she left, to get rid of the goo. The real result of such insincere flattery is the feeling that it is really demeaning to the unfortunate recipient.

Chantel said...

I am reminded of the first part of 1 Corinthians 13, the part no one memorizes or hangs on their wall. But, for me, more important than the "Love is..." section that follows--by far.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love--the act, the thought, the compassion....this is what balances the world, isn't it?

This post was beautiful, Susan.

Allen said...

Lots of great words of encouragement from many over the last 10 years.

Pam Brewer said...

Sad that I have a sneaky suspicion it was a physician who spoke to you unkindly.

Sue said...

Pam, your instincts are good. I will add, though, that most of the physicians who work at our center are very kind and personable.

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