When Someone Shows You Who They Are the First Time, Believe Them: How Paying Attention to the Red Flags in Any Relationship Will Keep You Safe
You know you have done this; noticed something about someone, when you initially meet them, that causes you to furrow your brow and feel uneasy but then brushed it aside. We have all done that, at one time or another.
Whether it's a new friend or in a new dating relationship, the red flags are always there from the beginning. The challenge you face is whether or not you are going to honor yourself enough to acknowledge what you already know or whether you will choose to ignore the warning signs and put yourself in harms' way.
Everyone has their list of "red flag" behaviors; EVERYONE. If you are committed enough to yourself,and your happiness, then you are most likely someone who pays attention to what feels right and what doesn't and then acts on it. Great job. That means that you don't waste time with the wrong person and that you feel confident in who you are and what you want, to let go of what doesn't serve your highest good to hold onto what does.
On the other hand, if you are someone who isn't sure of who they are, has doubts about your worth, lives in fear of being alone, has a haunting past that you just can't shake, lugs around all your unresolved baggage from previous relationships, or lacks self - confidence, this post is directed towards you. I hope this can help you start to deal with yourself differently; with love and compassion and with permission to do whatever it takes to treat yourself well.
What does a "red flag" look like, feel like, smell, like, taste like to you?
Our bodies are our best tangible guide for determining what feels right and what doesn't. Inevitably, you will have a "central feeling place" in your body where your uh-oh feelings show up.
Take a moment to identify that place. What goes on in your body that lets you know when something isn't sitting right with you? Where in your body do you feel it: your stomach? your chest? your throat? Does your heart rate increase significantly? Do your palms sweat? Do your thoughts race?
Another way your uh-oh feelings show themselves is through your thoughts and your knowingness. You may say to yourself, "Self, I just can't put my finger on this weird hunch I have, but there is something about this person that just doesn't sit well with me." Your thoughts aren't light, bright and clean feeling.
Recently, a client shared a story about a past relationship. She said that even though she wasn't looking to meet someone, this guys shows up at her dance class. She didn't think much of him and just thought he was nice. He asked her out to drinks after the class and she went. They grabbed a seat outside of the bar and he positioned himself in front of the window. She noticed he repeatedly turned to look into the restaurant while they were talking but she didn't understand why.
About a 1/2 an hour later, she says that three beautiful women walked out of the bar and he turned his head all the way around to visually follow them until they were out of sight. She realized that he spent quite a bit of time staring into the bar that night.
She said since she wasn't looking for someone, it really didn't fully register with her what this meant about this guy, so she blew it off.
Three weeks later, they were dating. He seemed, as she stated, very sincere and confident and persistent.
As they dated, not only did he continue to display disrespectful behavior when was with her, but also, convinced her that she was ridiculous for confronting him about this behavior. She admitted that she was too weak to let go of him because he had been quite manipulative, often confusing her and she was afraid that what she already knew about his infidelity would come true before her eyes. She said it was easier to hold onto him and at least know where he was when he was with her, even if she was anxious around him and didn't trust him at all, than it was to let him go, leaving her alone. She wasn't ready to let him or the pain go.
What soon came into her full awareness was that he had been cheating on her from the beginning with many women, lied to her about where he was and whom he was with, chipped away at her self-confidence and proved himself to be one of the most blatant womanizers she had ever met. . Finally, after many months of struggling within this relationship, she threw him to the curb. Unfortunately, his cruel treatment of her left her with flashbacks and nightmares for months.
She then asked me, "What the hell happened?" "I feel so foolish. And, I feel so angry!.... AT HIM!!!!"
I asked her to consider this question instead: "What is it about how you think about yourself that you drew this person into your life?" This totally stumped her.
I went on to explain to her that while his behavior is inexcusable, in order for her to release her pain, forgive herself, and save herself from carrying around this traumatic baggage, she must redirect her attention to herself and uncover the answer to this question.
She was able to take responsiblity for the fact that she knew from the first evening out with him that he was untrustworthy, but she ignored her "inner knowing." And that this caused her a great deal of pain, confusion and trauma.
This woman realized that she was the one who had abandoned and betrayed herself, by not being loyal to her needs and her knowingness.
She also realized that he was the metaphor for her own personal infidelity; presenting "her state of self" in the physical form through his disregard and disrespect of her. She said she needed to experience this, in this way, to finally get the message to love and respect herself.
It is not uncommon for us to want to brush off someone's strangeness, or underscored offensive behavior, especially if we have just met them. Most of us tend to want to believe in the inherent good of others.
But hear me clearly when I tell you this: How other people treat you is in direct proportion to how you regard yourself." You allow what you allow.
It is also very important to remember these two things: 1. That people have "their stuff" that doesn't have anything to do with you at all. It's just their unresolved "whatever" that they dump on others.
2. That you can't change someone. They are who they are until THEY CHOOSE to change.
What matters most is that you are considerate of yourself; that you show kindness, compassion, loyalty and service to yourself, FIRST. You must listen to your "inner voice" and honor it.
So, don't ignore what you know is an uh-oh in your gut. Kids know exactly what an uh-oh feeling is, and so do you.
It's up to you, in this moment, whether or not you choose to see people for who they are, not who you want or need them to be. Be honest with yourself and don't add details to their resume that aren't there.
In order to do that, you must first see yourself for exactly who you are;worthy of all things blessed and wonderful. Only then, can you see others honestly and clearly; without judgement or bias; with consciousness and knowingness.
You are enough. You are worth the discomfort it takes to remove yourself from relationships that don't serve you.
We are each others teachers and students. Sometimes, we learn on the behalf of others while their learning may come later in their lives.
Just know that in time, their souls will also learn what they must.
Karma takes care of that for everyone.
Keep your eyes and ears open to whomever crosses your path. For in that place of openness, you allow others to show you who they really are the FIRST time.
And, from this place of openness, you allow yourself the gift of believing them the FIRST time.
As Maya Angelou says, "If someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them!"
In love and light,