As a professional writer, I spend time talking with people from all walks of life. I talk with professionals, small business owners, and even amateur writers. In my line of work (and this goes for anyone who is self-employed), I have to know who people really are. If I can’t figure them out (quickly), I could take on a client who doesn’t pay. I don’t care what you do for a living…even when it is art related in some way, you still need a paycheck.
It’s About More Than Work
Yet, being able to read people and figure them out is about more than work. I’m going to use some archaic and unclear terms and information to make a point. In American society, we are told that the divorce rate is hovering around 50%. For the record, this isn’t true. In fact, that statistic was a guess from around 25 or 30 years ago that professionals created. Divorce statistics are actually kept by state…and ethnicity. There’s some good information out there, your relationship or marriage doesn’t have to become a statistic. Sadly, these statistics scare people into thinking they can’t be successful in relationships. Yet, it’s not scary statistics that cause people to do poorly. There are a lot of things to consider. So, I’ll make a broad statement and say that a lot of the time relationships don’t work because trust is given to someone who didn’t deserve it. It was given to the wrong person.
Learning to figure out who people really are can help you choose better partners. And I must note that you should not get into a relationship of any kind if you’re doing it because you want that person to change. You cannot change another person. You can only change you. However, you can make the very brave choice to avoid potentially toxic relationships and even get out of bad relationships.
The Secret to Knowing Who People Really Are
Like anyone else, I’ve been in a bad relationship before. I stayed because I heard the same old things, “I’ll change. I’m sorry.” I’m glad to no longer be in that situation because even once you know the secret, it’s hard to use…but it is imperative because you must take care of you. Why? Because you can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t. It’s the old adage: you can’t pour from an empty container.
So, what’s the secret to knowing who people really are? It’s looking at their actions. It’s no longer listening to their excuses or their non-apologies:
- I love you, but you made me angry.
- I’m sorry, but you….
No matter how they word it, it’s an excuse for their behavior that blames you.
Do their actions show that they love you? Do their actions show that you matter? Do their actions show that you and the relationship are valued?
Thich Nhat Hahn, a renowned Buddhist monk, is quoted, “My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.”
We aren’t who we say that we are. We are defined by our actions. Most of us would love nothing more in life than to just believe the best in people and, poof…suddenly they become who we want them to be, but that’s a fairy tale.
Deciding to allow yourself to define people by their actions, and to walk away from people who consistently do things to hurt you is the best way that you can improve your life. Yet, it’s hard. It’s hard to walk away from someone who keeps saying how much they love you and want you…and then turn around and treat you like you don’t matter…they string you along. And so many of us willingly follow the string.
You must allow actions to define people. Words aren’t worth much. I know – I get paid to write. They have a monetary worth, but if they aren’t backed up by actions, they have no true worth. Love yourself enough to look at who people really are and to cut off people who intentionally hurt you (and yes, even with an “I’m sorry, but you made me….” or any variation thereof did it on purpose).