By Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC
People will forget what you did; people will forget what
you said; but they won’t forget the way you made them feel. ~unknown
We all love to be around people who make us feel good. They may make us laugh and not take life too seriously. Their attitude and perspective may encourage us. They make us feel at ease and free to be ourselves. And, we may feel appreciated and loved when we are around them.
When we think about the people we like to be around, what is it about them that makes us feel good? We may not be able to recall all the things they say or do that we like, but it is a combination of qualities that make us enjoy their presence. More than anything, we remember that being with them is a good experience. They seem to bring out the best in us.
On the other hand, some people make us feel bad. Their negativity is a downer and saps our energy. The way they treat us can make us feel angry, hurt, or disgusted. Their anxiety is unpleasant and contagious. We may feel badly about ourselves when we are around them. Expectations they impose upon us can be burdensome and overbearing. We may feel unable to measure up or to please them. Their words are toxic and destructive if we take them in. Is there any wonder we don’t like to be around them?
People respond to their environment. If it’s pouring rain, we look for cover. If the hot sun is beating on us, we take off our jackets. We like to feel good and safe. It’s the same with relationships. With the good, we feel safe, accepted, and welcome, so we respond positively. With the bad, we are more likely to be on guard, defensive, and uncomfortable. We may not be able to control or predict how others will treat us, but we can choose to be our best in all situations. Were you ever surprised by someone’s reaction to an offensive person? When some of us would have retaliated, they were gracious and patient. It’s not easy to be the bigger person, but nevertheless, it is an option we have. Developing a character of true inner peace, love, and joy takes continual practice.
Every day we have the opportunity to be the kind of person whose presence is a blessing to others. It is the simple things that make us feel good, hopeful, and positive about life, and about ourselves and others. A smile can break down barriers. A positive attitude can instill hope. Kindness can soften hearts. Comfort can soothe pain. Respect can validate self-worth. Generosity can communicate love. Honesty can open hearts to trust. Love can heal the deepest of wounds.
When we allow these qualities to operate in and through our lives, not only do others enjoy being around us, but we enjoy being around them as well. We feel good because we find the good in ourselves. We believe in the goodness of others. And, we are thankful for the goodness and blessings we all share in this life.