A couple of weeks ago, I was watching the memorial service for Maya Angelou online and I was greatly moved by several of the speeches, especially Oprah’s and Michelle Obama’s.
Something Oprah said in particular really resonated with me. Oprah told the story of how she called Maya one day, crying over something that was happening in her life. Oprah said that she couldn’t remember what it was she was crying about, but that she was sitting in the bathroom sobbing and Maya wasn’t having it. She tried explaining why she was crying and Maya interrupted her and said “Stop it! Stop it now! Stop and say thank you, because whatever it is, you have the faith to know that God has put a rainbow in the clouds, and you will come out on the other side of whatever it is, the better for it.”
That story resonated with me because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried in the bathroom in my life, and like Oprah, I can never remember what it was I was crying about! Chances are it was some silly, stupid something that I thought was important at the time. My tears were probably over some guy, or something that happened at work, or something that someone had said to me. If you can’t remember what you were crying over, you know it wasn’t very important.
Last week was a challenging week at work and there were many times when I made myself remember Maya’s words as I was sitting at my desk, starting to sniffle, about to break down. I’ve always been a very emotional soul. I feel life on a deep level. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m barely holding myself together, but from now on, I will remember what Maya told Oprah that day and carry it with me from here on out.
Thank you Maya. Life is too short to spend it crying. Life is too short to let people get under our skin, when what they tell us, usually doesn’t matter at all. When we’re on our deathbeds, I sincerely doubt we will remember the times someone said something to upset us. Or the times your manager got impatient with you because you didn’t get every single task done by the end of the day. At the end of your life, do those things matter at all? Nope.
In life, we have to learn to control our emotions and not have them on autopilot, which is usually a challenge, especially for us women. When someone does or says something hurtful, we must choose to rise above it, turn away from the negativity immediately and move on.
Now whenever I start feeling sorry for myself over something small and my eyes start tearing up, I will hear that unmistakable voice telling me “Stop it! Stop it now!”