“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Maya Angelou
Ms. Angelou summed up in eleven words what it has taken me years to accept about people and about myself – especially when it involves relationships. Relationships require such insurmountable time to manage and we often ignore this premise when we venture into them. As a family therapist, I see people daily who struggle with using the information they have to make definitive choices about the future of their relationship. For people who are not struggling with mental illness, I truly believe that most want to change enough to establish or maintain a healthy relationship. However, there are some who are hardened and incapable of seeing past the faults of others to work on themselves.
When any person in a relationship demonstrates day in and day out, they are not willing to change, each needs to make a decision about several areas in the union. The first decision is whether or not to seek help in dealing the dysfunction that has permeated the household. People readily seek medical treatment for physical ailments; financial advising for credit problems; and religious guidance for spiritual fulfillment. However, when they need emotional or behavioral assistance, they ignore the symptoms for far too long. By the time many access professional clinical help for these areas, they have done critical damage to the home. Would you trust a person who advised you to wait until you faint 20 times before you call your physician? For most people, this is not the case – I hope.
The second decision to make is how much effort each is willing to invest in repairing the damage in the home. This is essential in moving forward as it will affect the outcome; little motivation will likely result in little progress. The third decision is identifying the cease fire guidelines. When all has been done – what then?
So, if I change a few words on Ms. Angelou’s famous quote to state – WHEN a person shows you who they are, believe them – then it becomes very applicable for relationships. People change. So, the person you met at the movie theatre, the skating rink, or some other memorable place is not the same person ten years later. What they would have done for you ten years ago, either seems trivial right now or unbelievable. You are now at a point where you are taking everything day by day with thoughts and feelings changing as quickly as a newborn’s diaper. Behaviors and moods you would have taken for granted ten years ago, now are under a microscope. With each person operating under a microscope, you have to consider what is presented. If a person tells you they don’t care and they are not going to change, then you make a decision based on that information and not on the behaviors you desire. At some point, you have to begin believing the person for who they are.
Please let me know what you think? Send a link to the blog to your friends. Thank you for your time.