When People Tell You Who They Are

June 12, 2012

… believe them.

So often we want to believe in the good of others. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt. We see so much potential in them – so much so, that we are willing to overlook anything to the contrary. We make excuses for people, we turn a cheek to pain and betrayal in hopes that it will never happen again. We assure ourselves that every indignation is a one-off – “they are just having a bad day,” we tell ourselves.

Now understand that it is a great gift to be able to believe in people and see their hearts… to believe in them and see what no one else sees… But at the same time, it is a great curse to ignore what is right in front of you.

When people tell you (by way of showing you) who they are, believe them. Talk (and email) is very cheap. We use vocabulary as manipulation. Actions are the most telling. When you enter that new relationship, the first time that person crosses your boundaries, make a note – this is who they are. They may not say as such, but their actions tell you everything you need to know. When they offer bad behavior upfront, do not believe in their potential to change. Do not think that you are an exception to the rule – that you will somehow change them – that you will somehow convert them into a better version of themselves. It never works.

As Sarah McLachlan says in Dirty Little Secret, “I’ve relied on my illusions to keep me warm at night.”  We all rely heavily on our illusions to comfort us and help us to ignore what is right in front of us. Somehow making up a better version of it all can make it seem alright and consequently justify the time we have invested into the relationship.

In reality people do not change, and it is wrong of you to expect that they will. People can want to change and can even go through the motions of trying to change, but at its essence level, change is extremely difficult – especially the older we get and the less disciplined we are. If you want a healthy relationship, be a good “listener” and hear what is actually being “said” to you. When people tell you who they are, believe them.

Read more inspiration in Donnalynn’s new Book, “Life Lessons,” click here.

If you would like more information on Emotional Wellbeing and Life Coaching Sessions with Donnalynnclick here.

If you would like to read some reviews on Donnalynn’s Coachingclick here.

If you would like to schedule a session with Donnalynn, click here.

Written by Donnalynn Civello

  • Jennifer Lamb Hewitt, June 12, 2012 Reply

    as always... nail hit right on the head... and just when i need to be reminded... you do good blog lady,

    • dlcivello, June 12, 2012 Reply

      Thanks, Jennifer! I think everyone can be reminded of this simple message! I, myself, am extremely guilty of ALWAYS seeing the good in everyone - even when clearly it is not standing right in front of me! Words to live by!

      Always, xo

  • Jim, your TT student, June 12, 2012 Reply

    I agree. Don't waste your energy trying to change someone but decide if you can be with that person for who they are.

    • dlcivello, June 12, 2012 Reply

      Jim, you are so funny - I like your screen name, "Jim, your TT student" - LOL!! Yes, I agree with you. We talked about this in last weeks class - "don't try and change people. Let people be who they are and if who they are does not work for you, then love them enough to let them go." Thanks for your feedback, xo dl

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