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When someone shows you who they are, believe them

|  —  12/07/22

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

I’ve been reflecting on Maya Angelou’s words a lot lately.

It doesn’t mean you excuse or accept poor behaviour.

Or that people can’t change.

But it does mean you don’t let yourself be surprised or disappointed when someone acts as they have always acted.

Remember, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.

Instead of wishing a person was different, accept that they are who they are.

And then you choose our response to them.

For some people, that may mean you make accommodations or concessions.

For others, it may mean you choose to step back or break away from a friendship, relationship, or job.

Not in anger, but with acceptance.

As Maya says, “It’s important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are.”

You can’t change or help someone who doesn’t want to change or help themselves.

As much as you might want to, you can’t do it for them.

Wishing they were different will not make it so.

They are who they are and that’s ok.

As much as it hurts.

As much as you don’t like it.

But you also are who you are and have your own values, standards, expectations, and beliefs too.

And it’s important you live true to them.

Leah Mether is a communication and soft skills trainer obsessed with making the people part of leadership and work life easier.

With more than 15 years’ experience working with thousands of clients, and an acclaimed book to her name, Leah knows what it takes to communicate under pressure. Like you, she knows the challenge of conflict, personality clashes, and difficult conversations.

Leah is renowned for her practical, engaging, straight-shooting style. Utilising her Five Cs® model of communication, she helps leaders and teams shift from knowing to doing, and radically improve their effectiveness.

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