This week on my favorite podcast, Oprah’s Super Soul, she shared an invaluable lesson that she learned from the one and only Dr. Maya Angelou. “When you know better, you do better”. Seven simple words strung together to create a powerful statement which we should all inculcate into our hearts and minds.
So what does it mean? “When you know better, you do better”? To put it simply, think of a curious small child who goes to touch a hot stove. They may have been told it was hot and to not touch, but they choose to do it anyway way and the inevitable happens, they burn themselves. However, the next time that child is tempted to touch a hot surface, they’ll remember how it felt when they were burned and as a result, will use better judgment and not repeat their mistake.
Although the above is a very simple analogy, it’s relatable to all of us. So many times we may see red flags or warnings when it comes to certain actions or relationships and we choose to ignore those signs; and then, the inevitable happens and we learn our lesson. It’s not a great feeling when we’re hurt by the consequences of our actions, but like with small children, we are able to take lessons from the pain and grow from them, and hopefully, never repeat those mistakes again.
“When you know better, you do better”.
Simple phrasing but necessary advice. Oprah also replayed an interview she did with a young woman who was not proud of her past but has turned her life around. Instead of berating her for her past actions, Oprah commended her for learning and growing and shared these precious words that were passed down to her.
Far too often, we stunt our own personal growth by replaying our mistakes, and the guilt from those mistakes over and over in our head. But the beauty of the human soul is that it’s constantly growing and evolving (if we allow ourselves) becoming wiser by the lessons taught by the greatest teacher: life.