believe-what-you-see

On Relationships: Believe what you see.

Christel Van Gelder General Life Advice Leave a Comment

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

I believe in synchronicity.

And this quote has popped out of my mouth one too many times in the last few months, weeks, days.
I have used it with my clients. I have used it with my friends.
I have used it with myself.

Such powerful words. But why are they showing up on an almost constant basis now?

Because I believe in synchronicity, the prominent presence of these words means something.
With my clients, it has come up due to relationship issues. Issues that I myself have been through.
Call it one of my blind spots.

It may sound weird. But when coaching, what usually happens, is that my client comes up with an issue that I myself have dealt with in the past. Or I am dealing with it now. It is eerie how that seems to happen.
This is what in coach jargon we call “you spot it, you got it”.
And I am spotting it all over the place, meaning I need to address it. Meaning that there are important lessons for me to learn, even if they are still not totally clear.

Furthermore, it came up a few weeks ago with a close friend. I would never have expected her to be struggling with a relationship issue — you see, I consider her to be very wise.
When she told me some details, that quote popped out of my mouth before I even realized it, giving me goosebumps.
Once again I was confronted with my blind spot.
Once again I was reminded there is something I need to learn, see, discover. Soon.

So I am on high alert! In Observation Mode.

Whenever I share this quote with 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 really 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 very first time is so important and often underestimated. But really think of it: the way people treat you once in a relationship will definitely be repeated. This happens due to the following reasons in my humble opinion:

  • Because that’s really who they are and we don’t want to acknowledge that truth.
  • Because we let them, mostly because we want to believe in the good and ignore the not so good. That is 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’ behaviour.
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, I would lose him.

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 we are treated in a way we should never accept to be treated. 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 do not need to approach people and situations from a place of fear.
We can approach them from a place of inner truth, reflecting our wisdom and calm unto others. If they don’t get it it’s no longer 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 even annihilate who we are, out of fear, will always end up working against us. Instead of fooling those we want to impress, we are fooling ourselves.
We are so far removed from our inner wisdom, that we cannot see the other person’s behaviour towards us 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 the fooler gets fooled.

And it’s our own stupid 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 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.

Coming back to the beginning of this post and repeating Maya Angelou’s powerful words: “If someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time”, 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 distant behaviour, aloofness, avoidance.
These are signs that either 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 communicate your observations with that person. Just tell them how you felt when they treated you a certain way.
But if you are not ready, for whatever reason, just make sure you become the close observer. Observing from peace, 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 observing person, as if you were watching yourself and the situation on a movie screen.

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

That leads me to another one of Maya Angelou’s quotes: “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”
Good one to ponder, no?
I think this will make for another blog post coming soon.

Anyway. I am curious what it is I need to learn. I have an idea already. And it’s getting becoming clearer.
In the meanwhile, I continue to be the Observer. Putting the pieces together until they will make total sense. And then it will be time for action.

But not just yet.
Action now could make for huge mistakes. And some mistakes I am not willing to make – yet.

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.

Remember, I offer a Complimentary Conversation so see if we can work together! Just shoot me an email.

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