A quote on a torn piece of newspaper laying on the kitchen counter: “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.”
This is a truth that highly educated people sometimes forget. There are times when I think the more degrees we have, the less we understand what makes humans tick. I was trained from birth to think things through. Formal education was highly valued in my family. All of the children in my family of origin continued in educational institutions until we had more than one college degree. We were taught to keep up with the world and to care about what we were learning.
So, I have a lot of education. And I often forget that formal education may prepare me to think logically and use my knowledge to convince others of what I know but it doesn’t do much to sensitize me to how my approach to the information may make the other person feel.
And the fact is, most of us are more or less open to the information that we share depending on how we feel in the presence of each other. If I make another person feel small or undervalued by the way I share the information I have, they are not likely to be open to what I have to say.
So, I want to be in relationship to people in a way that we feel connected and valued by each other. I want to notice whether others are leaning into our conversation or pulling back from it. I want to share the way I understand the world and have the other person share their insights. I want to feel valued and want the other to feel valued as well. When that happens we have a mutually enriching connection where each will feel they have gained from being in conversation.