The One About People

There’s a Maya Angelou quote on the wall at a coffee shop that I frequent. Usually, I do not pay much attention to quotes because I find that they never exactly fit what I’m thinking. I need something that pinpoints exactly how I feel and think, something I think this Angelou quote does perfectly. It says, “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.” Now that I’m on my own at college, I feel like this quote is particularly relevant because it makes me more conscious of the way I treat people. We forget why we’re mad at someone or why we do not like them; however, we remember the feeling.

Your own experiences shape the person that you are and the person you become. I believe the current you, and future you, are two different people because until you have been through hell, you will not know what you are made of. Unfortunately, you will probably go through hell more than once in your life, and whether you keep fighting, or throw up your white flag and surrender says a lot about you. People will not care about whether you have changed or not, but will remember the way it felt the time you looked them in the eyes and told them you hated them, when you were so full of anger that you couldn’t control it. They might not remember what you said—your exact words, or the situation, but the feeling that tugged at their heart and made their stomach drop? That’s what they’ll remember.

Present you says things and does things that affect people, changes people, and flips their worlds upside down, whether you realize it or not. You do things that future you will regret, things future you will thank you for, and things that will make you into the person you will be in five days, weeks, months, or even years from now. The problem with thinking about the consequences for the future, when you’re in the current moment, is that you can lose who you are now when you’re looking out for who you want to become. You forget to cherish the moment, and every moment that passes you by will not come back, so you will not have anything you felt that you remember. We rarely get second chances in life, with both relationships and opportunities that could become something bigger than we know.

What I’m trying to say, is that we can influence people through the way we make them feel, which is something that we should definitely acknowledge changes us and our relationships. But letting the moments slip away from us because we are scared of hurting someone else, or we’re scared of what will happen is not the right thing to do. Be cautious with how you make others feel, but never sacrifice your happiness for the happiness of someone else.