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
A part of my mind rejects this idea because I don’t like the discounting of what we say and do, but I know it is true. To a large degree, it is the emotional content of what we say and do that people connect with (or are repelled by), regardless of the intellectual content or even the actions themselves.
It’s usually easy to tell how people feel when we’re in close relationship: spouse, family, friends. But how can we better understand our impact on those who are less transparent to us or less forthcoming with their feedback? Do we need to concern ourselves with that?
I know that at work I am often intensely focused on a task at hand, and when I am interrupted, it takes a while for me to shift my attention to the person who needs it. I’m sure this has sometimes sent a message I didn’t intend. As an introvert, I am slow to warm up to people and need time to process interaction. But I would like to practice being more fully present for others and to smile more! 🙂