Relationships: Believe what you see.

“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” ~ Maya Angelou

Whenever I share this quote with my clients and friends, I have to admit that I always forget the last part of the quote. The part that says: “the first time”.
Which is a very important part.

I believe it has nothing to do with first impressions. For me that part refers to the instance that a real important thing happens between two or more people. In that instant, one of them shows their true colours, often unconsciously, for the first time.

This “first time”-part of the quote is so important, and underestimated. But think of it: the way people treat you once in a relationship, will definitely be repeated. In my opinion, this happens:

  • Because that’s who they really are and we don’t want to acknowledge that truth.
  • Because we let them, mostly because we want to belief in the good and ignore the not so good. That’s just so much safer.
  • Because we are afraid of rejection if we don’t just accept all that they do without questioning their behaviour.

I have lived many situations where I wanted to believe the good, rather than acknowledging that what was happening was “off” for some vague reason.
Why I didn’t want to ”see”, was that I was too insecure to believe my own instincts and intuition. I overruled my wise inner voice by letting my monkey brain talk me into plausible, rational explanations for that persons’ behavior.
Because those explanations appeased my fear. Fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough. Fear of losing him, should I not go along with his “conditions”.

So I let him set the relationship rules while he merrily trampled over me and I remained silent. And I did that all by myself. Because I was scared to death that if I didn’t let him trample over me, he would not like me no more.

When we approach situations and people from that place of fear, we end up lying. Not only to ourselves but also to them. We invent excuses and are treated in a way we should never be treated. But we tell them it’s OK to treat us that way.

When we accept who we are and are not ashamed to show that, we don’t need to approach people and situations from a place of fear. Instead, we can approach them from a place of inner truth, reflecting our wisdom and calm. If they don’t get it it’s not our problem. It’s theirs. Because we showed up being open, honest, vulnerable and with total transparency.

This need of having to hide who we are, to please, and to completely annihilate who we are —out of fear— will always end up working against us. Instead of fooling those we want to impress, we’re fooling ourselves.
We become so far removed from our inner wisdom, that we can’t see the other person’s behaviour in a truthful way. We make up a story just so we can live with that behaviour. We don’t stop and reflect on what we “really” saw and experienced. So we fool ourselves. And it’s our own fault.

Becoming more of who we are and less of who we want to project, is a difficult thing to do. But it’s the only thing to do if we want to be honest. First to ourselves and second to the people we interact with. In the end it’s the longest way, but also the most truthful one.

It’s what we in coaching call being TAO — Transparent, Authentic and Open.
From that place of purity, fear is no longer needed. From that place you just follow your instinct and intuition.

If someone does something that seems “off” to you, please do believe that they are showing something you need to know about them. That they are showing colours you didn’t expect. Most probably the colours of their own fear.

“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” ~ Maya Angelou

Coming back to Maya Angelou’s powerful words, start noticing in your life whom you interact with out of fear. Whose behaviour you don’t want to acknowledge for what it really is. Whom you constantly make excuses for.

It may be that you hold a flame for a certain person in your heart. But your affection is returned with aloofness, avoidance, distance. These are signs that person is not as much into you as you into him or her. It may even be that this person really has feelings for you. But that he/she is too scared of showing it. This can be because of commitment issues or because they are unable to listen to their own inner voice, afraid to trust their heart.

Whatever the reason, do know that it’s not about you, it’s about them. And it’s they who risk losing the possibility of having a great relationship.

When you are confronted with such a person or situation, try to reach in and listen to your inner voice, not your monkey brain. And try to see what they really project, how they really treat you and why you let them treat you that way.

Next you have a few options.

If you are brave and willing to be vulnerable, you can choose to confront with that person your observations. Just tell them how you felt when they treated you a certain way.

But if you’re not ready, for whatever reason, just make sure you become the close observer. Observe from a place of calm with as little beliefs attached to what you are observing as possible. It can give you all the information you need. You just need to take a step back and become that observer, as if you were watching yourself and the situation on a movie screen.

Then see what reactions, thoughts, emotions or insights come up.
Those realisations that come from the place of the observer usually are close to the truth. Then be willing to belief the truth you have observed. And be willing to do something about it as soon as you’re ready.

Are you feeling confused about someone you care for (a lot) right now?
Want to find out if that person is worth your emotional investment?
Want to focus the observer’s lens on that particular someone?

Contact me and let’s find out together.