In this time of social distancing and isolation, it has allowed me to reflect on things and events from my past and present and also has allowed me to look both inward and outward at people and events I’ve encountered.
My reflections are unique to my journey and do not apply to anyone else, but I have to say that my reflections have brought me quite a bit of both sadness and resolve.
The sadness is usually as a result of thinking too deeply into what is going wrong, and the resolve I have been feeling comes not from me, but from the comfort and wisdom of others.
I have historically found my parents, in particular my mother, as people who I turn to during difficult times. But since they are no longer around, I have had to find others to rely on when I need some inspiration or motivation.
We all have our heroes that we look up to, and I want to share mine with you. In particular, because she can be there for you too.
If you have not heard of her, you have likely seen one of her quotes surface on your social media channels. Her name is Maya Angelou, she is an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist who I have always found comforting.
Right now, being a doctor on the front lines of COVID-19, I am comforting my patients and their families every day, but finding that more and more I am in need of some comfort myself.
Lately, I have noticed myself gravitating to look up Maya’s interviews and find myself lost in YouTube watching them repeatedly. I also find myself searching through her inspirational and insightful quotes and poems. Watching her speak, and reading her work, has always had an undeniable positive effect on me.
I have one favorite Maya Angelou quote that I have been reading every day, sometimes multiple times, and I wanted to share it with you, in hopes that it will help you find comfort in this crisis too.
“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
I keep this quote close because I have found it to be true in my life.
I have met thousands of people from all over the world, but there are just a handful of people who have had a significant impact on my life. And in reflection, what was most memorable about them, was the way they made me feel.
With a constant news cycle reporting on what is going wrong, I have found that I am experiencing more negative feelings than normal. I find my thoughts getting distracted with remembering people who have shown a dislike for me in the past. I have thought back to relationships where people have added to my pain when I am already down. And in general, I have been questioning my own reality, and feeling “less than.”
When I realize that all my endless flaws can not translate to the image that I want to have for myself, it makes me feel even worse.
But I don’t want to feel bad. And I doubt you do either.
That is why I have been channelling inner Maya Angelou in these times of crisis to rise above my feelings, and to focus on what really matters.
And for me, what really matters is being a positive person who can make others feel better.
Remember in these challenging times, when there is uncertainty, fear, stress, and anxiety felt on all seven continents, what won’t change is the way you make people feel. As you go about your day, and interact with people at a safe social distance, or through various digital platforms, remember that the way you treat them will have a profound impact on their day and life. And as a result, it will help you feel better too.
What is your favorite Maya Angelu quote? Share it as a comment or tweet me @ReyzanShali!