How You Make Them Feel

By Samantha McKenzie

“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.” – Dr. Maya Angelou

One day, I walked into a local cafe for lunch and saw this excerpt written by the late Dr. Maya Angelou. It was mounted on the brick wall, nicely framed, about a foot away from some freshly baked cookies that competed for its attention.

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I read it over and over again, allowing the words to soak in and time to stand still on behalf of my starving soul. In hindsight, I realized that time was actually ticking away and hasty customers were maneuvering around me to get to the front of the line and onto their intended business.

As I waited my turn, I continued dissecting the short paragraph, realizing that the majority of the sentences began with the words, “I’ve learned.” What a privilege it is to learn something and to realize you still have a lot more to learn. It left a lingering message inside of me, just like the author once did.

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It forced me to ask the question. What impressions are we making on others? In the midst of our busy days, long commutes and chatter, are we leaving anything behind? Are we connecting with our fellow man? Are we sharing more pain than hugs? Are we learning anything worthwhile about someone who’s worth it?

Long after I vacated the cafe, I thought about this message, its impact, and the incredible wisdom. I wanted to take more time to congratulate others for their accomplishments. I wanted to press pause on the day and tell a friend how much her phone call meant to me or how the text she sent the other night left me both inspired and grateful. I want to give more hugs and make stronger, deeper memories. I wanted, like the author said, to be that kind of person who made you feel better, even after I’m long gone.

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My hope is for all of us…to make lasting impressions now and forever.

Those framed words.

Hung on the exposed brick wall.

Left me with a feeling.

I’ll never forget.

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