When someone shows you who they are, believe them
– Famous quote by Maya Angelo
This is an unusual post. Not at all action sports related, but life lesson focused. It’s about wanting to let something go, hearing my friends beg me to spot what’s up, but not quite being able to see the light of day. It’s a post about knowing when to walk away and take the life lessons being dished up, with you.
Always wanting to see the good
There’s good in all people. That’s what (I hope), most of us want to see. Inherently, I believe we try to seek out the positives in the people we meet. We do this way before even acknowledging any negatives. Time and time again, I’ve seen this awesome (& it IS awesome), character trait increase tenfold when blinded by love. It can take a really long time for any flaws (and we all have them), to become visable in others… especially when wearing those rose tinted glasses.
But you probably learned this years ago…
Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I don’t have much experience with love. I’m making mistakes in my 30s that you probably made in your 20s (& paying the price for them). That unique connection with another person, known to turn your world upside down is something I’ve seldom felt. It really takes a lot to turn my head, but when someone does, I’m knocked sideways. It also takes me a really long time to recover from.
Trash and talking
The thing is, you want to believe that the words coming out of the person in front of you, are true. What a waste of energy it must be to question the validity of everything you’re told. But words are cheap. It’s actions that speak volumes. And unfortunately, our generation throw words around like the empty takeaway coffee cups, rolling around on the floor of the passenger side of my car.
Red flags, red flags… pay attention!
Everyone makes mistakes yes, this is true. I’ve made a solid handful of them in my time. I like to think that I learned from each of them. I didn’t need to make the same mistakes over and over, especially if I knew they continuously hurt other people. Your AWESOME personality that actively seeks the positives in people means you’re more likely to acknowledge obvious red flags as a genuine mistake. Give that person the benefit of the doubt so to speak. But what happens if these ‘mistakes’ keep happening? Do you keep making excuses for their behaviour? If you’re in love then the answer is probably yes. You will argue several points of view and brush off questionable behaviour as an anomaly (jeez there’s a lot of anomalies eh?). God knows I’ve made thousands of excuses for being lied to the last 4 months. I never noticed that with the lies, he was actually showing me who he really was. Those rose tinted glasses wanted to see only the positives (and there were many). I wanted to believe the words. That he was the person he repeatedly told me he was. But when people show you who they are, believe them. The first time.
“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” – Maya Angelou
Oups, there it is!
Man it’s a tough lesson to learn… Don’t wait for someone to show you 5 or 6 times who they are, before the penny finally drops. Believe them the first time, because in that moment, they are showing you their true character. Yes, people make mistakes and I’m the first to put my hand up to give someone a second chance. But a third? A fourth and a fifth? Does anyone deserve that many chances? And at what cost to you? At point do you draw the line and walk away? Experience will teach you that one. Once burnt twice shy.
The rose-tinted glasses suck!
It is easy to be swayed by feelings, especially as most of us want to trust people. If you’re like me, you (fortunately/unfortunately?) don’t have a lifetime of bad experiences to draw from. But as I’m hearing from friends, I am in the minority. Just as it is easy to lie, It’s easy to apologise. Send a text, send an email, say some words. Repeat a few times, add an emoji, make a joke… Apologies are cheap. They need to be married with actions as well as words. Actions as we are told over and over again, ALWAYS speak louder than words. But when someone repeatedly shows you in their actions who they are, why don’t we believe them? Surely they know who they are, the best?
“It is by choice and not by chances that we change our circumstances”
Making better people choices
By being attentive and aware of how people treat us, we can begin to focus on the individuals that work hard for our friendship, in actions as well as words. A lot of this comes down to the amount of respect we place on ourselves, what we are willing to tolerate. Some people just don’t deserve to have you in their life, but many do. Focus on those people and don’t waste your energy on convincing yourself (or your friends), that the lies can eventually add up. They very rarely do. There’s only so much benefit of the doubt that you can give and you know your gut feeling and intuition was always right.
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
It took me a really long time to write this (July – Sept 2015) and an even longer time to re-read it and eventually post it (Mar 2016). I kept on thinking there would be another outcome other than the fact my gut feeling was always right. A leopard does not change his spots, no matter how much you love them or hope, wishes can come true. I guess a part of me still hopes that wish will come true. That’s the part of me that needs to re-read this article over, and over.