I love the above quote from Maya Angelou. And it’s a major truth to live by for the happiness of your relationships and your life!
I had to learn the hard way that when other people show you who they are, you have two choices – believe them or spend a lot of time trying to find something else in them…sometimes at the cost of your own happiness.
I have tons of examples, but the one that stands out the most is this:
I went camping with some friends. I was young, so drinking and partying all night was part of the equation; however, I didn’t do drugs. We met up with a friend of my friend, and he was doing cocaine all night. Of course I fell madly in love with him, never letting myself believe that he had a drug problem. I believed it was a one-time thing, because he never talked about drugs or did drugs in front of me after that night. After a few years of fights, money missing, unexplained disappearances, and weird behavior, I finally admitted that he was addicted to cocaine, and I broke up with him and never looked back.
I know it sounds stupid that I didn’t believe him when he showed me that he was clearly addicted to drugs, but denial can explain away a lot of things for a long time! Especially when it comes to love.
Interview With Stephanie
|Solo female traveler in Asia since 2007 and railway commercial manager for 18 years turned reporter on Indian tribes and expert in customer relationship management (quality audit).|
Q. Describe a time someone showed you who they were, but you didn’t believe them.
In another life, I was married…
My husband used to say that he had “a purse made in hedgehog skin”. I don’t know if this expression is only used in French, but you can easily understand what it means: he was supposed to be a cheapskate.
He also pretended that his whole family was the same.
Q. Was there a negative consequence because you didn’t believe them?
When we met, I was still a student. When he moved to another town, we have decided to live together. He was working and had a very good job and salary. I only had the money I had earned from my summer job.
Though he was able to pay everything, he only paid for the rental of the house, electricity, water (what he would have to pay also if I hadn’t been there”. I had to pay the other expenses, especially food, beverages, etc.
At that time, I didn’t think it was so important and found bad excuses. But I spent the whole money I had earned.
Q. When did you finally believe them?
I realized it was really a problem when we decided to divorce.
I left with nothing, only my personal clothes and shoes. He refused to share our personal belongs. Though most of my family had given money for our honeymoon, he refused also to share the other wedding presents. I had to rent a furnished flat with the little money I had spare. I couldn’t have a car. I had to start from zero.
It takes years to find an agreement, and I finally took a very small sum of money as I was fed up with fighting for nothing important.
Believe People The First Time
People can change, but many don’t – and most people will not change until they decide they should, which can take years or even decades. That’s why it’s important to believe people when they show you their true colors so you can figure out if you want to be in a relationship with them or not.
This includes friends, coworkers, family, lovers, and everyone else – even neighbors.
When I first moved into my home, my neighbor quickly showed me her true self – even though she pretended to be a great neighbor. She complained about everyone around us, she was picky about her yard and anyone stepping foot on it, and she never smiled. After years of her ‘neighborly’ abuse, I finally stopped interacting with her because I don’t like the person she is, and life has been much better since then. She’s found other people to interact with!
The bottom line is this: Take what people show you and decide if you are willing to put up with it. Don’t pretend they are someone they are not. Don’t live in denial. Your happiness with thank you!