I posted a quote on Facebook a few days back that received a lot more attention than I thought it would. It rang true for me, sure, so I posted it, but then some friends liked it. And then some friends of friends liked it and so on. For me, who’ve only recently started posting as an author, it was a bigger showing than I’ve seen so far. And then I was left wondering why? What about the quote struck a cord in people?
So here’s the quote: “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
I contemplated…and contemplated…and…then it struck me.
People love to feel. Why?
When I say this I don’t mean nieve in the usual ‘she grew up sheltered’ way of saying she-doesn’t-get-it-because-she- hasn’t-experienced-life kind of way.
I mean we sit inside our metal cars or we zone at our TVs and somehow we don’t even know our neighbor’s names. We’re so isolated that we’re numb. And we want to feel!
We want to experience life and when the memory pulls us back later we want the excitement, the warmth, even the suffering or pain to be there because then and only then are we fully alive. Only then do we know we’re living.
Maybe this is why we have such violent cries for attention. All you have to do it turn on the news to see it. We’ve lost our ability to break our isolation and it stunts our humanity.
People assume to feel they have to create a scene, hurt someone, draw attention (reality tv anyone?) and, although this works, it digs deep into who we are and leaves a festering wound.
But we’re not helpless in this. Maya Angelou got it right. It’s like the movie Pay It Forward. You have the ability to change someone’s life by simply leaving them feeling better than you found them!
What a simple concept but we overlook it in our selfish desire for me. I want to feel! We miss the very basic fact that helping another enables you to feel in a healthy way. it’s altruistic and selfish in a catch-22 kind of way. Go figure.
And it doesn’t have to be complicated!
On my desk sits a little card with a bear on the front from a friend. It’s cute. There was no occasion for the card, no special day or thank you to be said. Every time I look at it, I smile. Marjorie simply wrote to say hi but she did something profound. She reached into my isolated little house and made me smile.
She put extra time and energy to think of me and, with the paper and envelope, there’s a physical, not digital, proof someone cares. The internet’s great but too often we forget the people behind it are real. A tangible card with handwriting , on the other hand, can’t be ignored in the same way.
I find a warm glow at finding a letter from someone I know in the mailbox. Seeing their penmanship on the envelope automatically brings back a feeling of closeness with that friend. (Op, there’s that feeling thing again.) Funny thing is, I get that same glow when I write and mail a letter to someone else.
Now what would happen if we tried to do something like this daily? It doesn’t even have to be a card. Just something to put a smile on a person’s face. What a concept! Idealistic…maybe. Doable…absolutely.