“When people show you who they are, believe them.”
I saw this quote on Facebook a couple of times this week, and it stuck with me. I even went so far as to look up the Oprah segment where Maya Angelou shared this advice.
It’s good advice. It’s solid. I know exactly what she’s talking about. If someone lies once, that person will lie again and again. If someone lets you down when you are in need, that person will let you down again and again. If someone hurts you once, that person will keep on hurting you. Believe people the first time they show you who they are.
Believe them, and don’t blame them for it. I know that the point of this lesson is to get away from people who can’t be trusted, but I also heard Dr. Angelou say, “Why would you blame a man for being who he is?”
I like my friend David’s way of expressing this: “You can’t blame a goat for eating grass.” The goat is who he is. He is doing what he does. Blame accomplishes nothing.
Let go of blame. If you need to also get away from the person, do that too, but let go of blame. Blame hurts you more than it hurts the other person.
Let go and believe the person is showing you the truth about himself or herself. Without a doubt, do that. It’s great advice, but while you believe, stop and ask yourself something else. Would you want anyone to judge you solely based on your worst moment and/or your worst characteristics?
People are package deals. The good comes with the bad. There’s no such thing as a person who doesn’t have any flaws. If we walked away from everyone who showed us that he or she could not be everything we wanted all the time, we would not have a friend left in this world.
Let people be who they are. You can’t change them.
Be who you are. Don’t try to change for anyone else. That won’t work either. For one, you aren’t really happy around another person if you aren’t at ease with yourself. For another, you can only hide who you are for so long before the real you starts to show.
All you can do is to decide if you are willing to live with the whole goat, grass eating and all. If not, find yourself a greener pasture. If so, learn to really live with it. You asked for it, you got it, baby. We’re all just grass eating goats here.