We spend too much time trying to convince people that we are right and not enough time just caring for the people we are talking to.
No one cares if you were right or wrong.
No one cares if you were accurate or inaccurate.
No one cares if you did say that specifically verbatim or you didn’t.
Because as Maya Angelou so eloquently articulated, “people don’t remember what you said, all they remember is how you made them feel.”
So it doesn’t really matter if you did someone wrong or you didn’t – if they feel like you did then you did.
It doesn’t really matter if you lied or didn’t – if someone feels like you were dishonest then you were.
It doesn’t really matter if you were mean or you weren’t – if they feel like you disrespected them then you did.
We spend too much time splitting hairs over the actual semantics that were used or the specific minute details of what happened – and none of it matters.
What matters is how you make people feel.
Do you make them feel cared for?
Do you make them feel appreciated?
Do you make them feel loved?
Do you make them feel heard?
Do you make them feel sincerely apologized to?
Or do you make people feel manipulated?
Do you make people feel intimidated?
Do you make people feel unimportant?
Do you make people feel like they’re the one who is always wrong?
And although you can’t ultimately control other people’s feelings, it’s still a worthwhile use of your intention to focus on for two reasons:
1. It helps you focus on what is productive with others and it keeps you from being distracted with the trivial details of disputes
2. It causes you to do the right things
Because there is only one sustainable way to make people feel a certain way…
It is to actually feel that way about them!
People have an uncanny sense of distinguishing between how someone says they feel and how they really feel.
Which means you have to do the work of actually caring for them.
You have to do the work of actually looking after them.
You have to do the work of actually loving them.
And that is often difficult, disciplined, but worthwhile work.
It’s difficult and it requires discipline because it requires us to get outside of ourselves.
It requires us to let go of what we want, our need to feel validated, and our desire to be proven right.
And we instead trade that in for a chance to serve.
A chance to listen.
And a chance to look after someone else.
So the question is not about what you did or didn’t do.
The only question that matters is “how did you leave them feeling?”