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

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