“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
This resonates with all of us, right? We all make each other feel something every day – good, bad, ugly, insufficient, empowered and the list goes on. We have the power to make people around us feel. That’s a big thing. Do you remember the first person who told you that “You can’t do it” or “You are a failure?” The answer is most likely, yes. Now, do you also remember the first person who said: “You can do it?” Chances are, you also remember this person. (Answer this in the comment section below, I would love to know your story)
Go back to your childhood and recall one memory that made you feel good and one that made you feel bad. You can instantly recall these experiences because these are the incidents that shaped us and made us the people we’ve become. We all have been bullied by another person at some point in our life. Most of the bullying might happen casually, but it still has the power to leave a permanent impression on our lives.
I have been bullied for my dark skin since I was a kid. I recall my aunt casually telling me, “You are so dark. Who will marry you?” I kept listening to various versions of being “not normal” because I was dark. Can you imagine what impact these words made on an impressionable young person?
I am dark because my ancestors were farmers who toiled in the fields all day in the scorching heat. I carry it in my genes. I can’t do anything about it. I don’t want to do anything about it. I definitely don’t need you casually tell me to use fairness creams or haldi packs!
Similarly, every person has their own story for being the way they are. You don’t know what background they come from. Maybe they have an illness due to which they are obese or have a hormonal imbalance that leads to acne scars. Even when we say things like, “You talk too much. Try and stay quiet!” or “You should learn better English!” or “You are stressed all the time!” Please stop fixing each other so casually without understanding the impact your words can have on their thoughts and emotions.
Who creates standards? Someone like you or me. Let people be the way they want to and stop trying to fix them. Next time when you are about to say something to someone CASUALLY, I want you to BE CONSCIOUS and think before saying it. If it doesn’t add value to that person’s wellbeing, perhaps you should refrain from saying it. Understand the power of your words and use them wisely.
If you can’t lift someone up, at least don’t push them down. And as they say, this world has enough critics. We need more people who empathize, love, uplift and heal.
Let’s create a world where we all can talk to each other without the fear of being scarred. Creating fewer wounds is better than filling them up later. Be a good human being before becoming anything else.