I Can Make You!

Today I received this quote in my e-mail inbox. “ How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you!”  As I pondered this quote, I asked myself a couple of questions:

1. First, can I really make someone feel a certain way?

2. Secondly, if I truly can, then I am very powerful?

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes we share quotes without thinking a whole lot about what we are saying. Sounds good right?  If we “ make “ someone feel bad by the behavior we choose then yes, it says a lot about me.  

Here is the idea. We are a society that believes we have that much control over other human beings.  However, Eleanor D. Roosevelt said: “ no one can make you feel inferior without your permission!”  What did she mean by that?  I believe she was suggesting that we alone are responsible for how we feel about anything that happens around us. This is a strong stance but it is so true.

Victor Frankl while held in the concentration camps said that the one thing that they could not control was his mind and his thoughts. When we make statements that indicate that we can actually control someone else’s mind, do we really believe that?

What are the implications of this quote? Is there a better way to say it?  How about something like: “How others feel when they are with you says a lot about you!”  Yes we can attempt to influence others but that is about all we can do and yes if someone is abusive, we feel miserable and we cannot help that feeling at that time but we do have control over what we do and if we choose to internalize it as our truth then, it feel like , they made us feel that way.  

Even the Webster Dictionary says we can “make someone happy” or “make someone sad.” How powerful is that! If I really had that kind of control, I would just make everyone happy!



Maureen has been teaching this ideas for over 35 years. She is a Senior Faculty Member with William Glasser International, A Licensed Counselling Therapist and Certified Personal and Executive Coach.