My Words to Live By: Treat Others with Kindness

I often find myself saving inspiring quotes. I used to clip them from magazines or copy them from books, and now I screenshot them on my phone. Maya Angelou’s words of wisdom are some of my favorites, and I especially like her quote that reads, “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.” Those words are shared on my bio on the BWG website and have inspired me to always consider how I treat others.

When I think about my circle of close friends, I remain connected to them because of how I feel when I’m with them— loved, inspired, supported and understood. Likewise, when I think of people who have been a part of my life and have impacted me in a less positive way, I can certainly remember the feelings they left me with— feelings of hurt, embarrassment or uncertainty.

When my children were navigating elementary school friendships, I often reminded them that while they did not have to be everyone’s best friend, they did need to be kind to other kids. These thoughts stemmed from a conversation I had with a friend who I reconnected with in adulthood but first met in 5th grade. She was a new student, having just moved to our small town, and told me that I was one of the only kids who was nice to her when she was the new student.  I have no recollection of that at all, but those feelings had stayed with her.

As a young professional, I had a boss who was a vice president at the hospital where I worked, but never hesitated to roll up her sleeves and help me set up for a special event or health fair. She made me feel supported and inspired me to always be a team player. I didn’t make a million bucks at that job but gained so much in life experience in terms of who I wanted to be.

While I know most of us won’t change the world in some profound way, hopefully we can make a positive difference for the people in our lives. Our words and actions do matter, but as Angelou points out, how we interact with others and how we make them feel is what will truly make a lasting impression.