I heard this saying attributed to Maya Angelou and Oprah talked about it in one of her Lifeclasses.
This is a hard one to swallow and that’s because inside us, we’ve got the devil and angel wrestling. We’re always fighting something. Fighting against our natural inclinations, against what we know we shouldn’t do, what we know we really want to say. It’s a tough battle, isn’t it?
This is a fight between reality and perception. Is what we see the reality or our perception of it? The other day, I read that perception is reality and that makes a lot of sense to me now.
This lesson unfolded for me over the years. It came to me over time that people do forewarn you about who they are and what they are about. But you have to catch it. If you are so caught up in your own ideas, and whatever situation you are in at that point, you can easily miss it. In fact, you could easily misread it or even deny it.
I caught on to the lesson through pain, as you might guess. They told me the kind of person they were, and one day, I listened. I really heard them and accepted it at face value. I didn’t try to look behind the statement or try to qualify it. And when the time came to showcase and bring to life what they had told me, I could see it as bright as day.
And once I saw the light, I began to look out for this, in other conversations and in other people. You can’t do it for everyone, and you probably don’t want to – it’s time consuming and a drain. But you probably want to consider this for the people who matter to you, since you spend so much time with them. You’d also want to consider this when meeting new people who you feel will be important to you.
So how do you believe them?
You just take the statement at face value and you file it away in memory.
You don’t try to second guess or dissect it – just hold the statement in a neutral position.
One day, you’ll be given the opportunity to cross reference the statement when a situation crops up and you can make sense of it then.
Should you be lucky enough to encounter repeat occurrences, it serves to validate the statement’s existence and further strengthens its veracity.
The beauty of this: you don’t need to wait for some wonderful, hidden nugget of information. Everyday occurrences, conversations and situations can bring forth the best and worst in people. It takes a lot to craft a persona and eventually, one tires and the real person is out on display. So, these situations can crop up anytime, thus presenting you with valuable information you can use to make a far more accurate assessment than purely relying on what’s being asserted.
So then the question I have for you is : When people show you who they are, do you believe them?