“Paul, I remember something you told me probably ten years ago…”
I was talking with an old business friend when he said this, and he then exactly recited whatever it was — some philosophy or principle of life, or whimsical observation. Maybe nothing profound, just something in the moment that seem to fit his situation. It’s probably been, well, ten years since I last said it that way, too.
Hearing your words come back to you after so much time is a bit like finally finding your old favorite pair of socks two years later stuck in the back of the dresser drawer — you did put them there without much thought, but now brought back into the light. they take on a newness.
We can rarely be the arbiter of what people might truly hear from us, remember about us, or draw from their time with us. If you reflect back on it, your own memories of your parents or childhood friends or even business associates are often captured in passing comments, a turn of phrase, something said in a way that just stuck.
What we can do, though, is tell them that we remember.
I believe deeply that people wander and wonder later in life whether they have had impact on others. To know it is to hear it from the people they’ve touched.
Taking the time to loop back to someone — often over the stretch of a lifetime — can bring a reciprocity of the relationship that we could never achieve in the earlier moment. To go back and simply thank someone for something they said carries with it now a richness and depth — the notion that something said has taken root and nestled into our lives and conscience is pretty powerful stuff for that other person to hear.
“I just wanted to tell you that I remember when you told me…” Who might need to hear that from you
More so, what might it mean to say it — to them, and to you?