Recently, I've heard a particular quote several times. And knowing that nothing happens by accident, it’s made me look at this quote with a slightly different point of view than I did initially when I heard it spoken by Dr. Maya Angelou when she was being interviewed by Oprah. For the last few weeks I frequently kept hearing, “when a person shows you who they are the first time believe them; they know who they are, trust them.” Now I know that people find it very easy to take something that they've heard or something that they've read and tweak it, twist it, paraphrase it, to make it fit their situation and some almost use a cookie-cutter like fashion; however, what I also find is that very few of us ever delve deeper, going beneath the surface of these quaint phrases, aphorisms, or bits of wisdom.
Why is it that we never delve deeper? Is it that we don’t know to delve deeper, to seek more of what the quote means and how it applies in more meaningful ways to not only the situation but to our lives as a whole? Is it that we don’t want to know; so we never ask ourselves those more meaningful introspective questions?
I mean on the surface Dr. Angelou’s quote is very profound and yes very meaningful and one many levels true, however, from a meta-point of view I have to ask deeper questions including how does that apply to me in my interactions with people?
I mean speaking from experience; I know that for many years the life that I was out-picturing was not truly who I was. That life was based on who I “thought” I was. The tendencies that I expressed that were based on such things as rage, depression, addiction, and self-hatred were not in truth who I was.
Thankfully, there were those people who are wise enough and insightful enough to see beyond the walls, barbed wire, and armor that I even was too blind to see. These people were able to see something beyond what I was out picturing and as a result of their inner vision they were able to assist me in waking up.
And yet had they treated me based upon what I was showing them then I very well would have continued to spiral further and further into the black hole of self-hatred, abuse, and suicidal ideations that I believe would have become suicidal attempts. I was showing them a mask and despite all of my attempts to make them believe that the mask was in fact my true face, they refused to believe it and they refused to such an extent that they helped me to no longer believe it and like the character of Neytiri in the film Avatar, who said, “I See you,” as she could see beyond the façade of the avatar to the true soul of Jake which led not only to him seeing it, but stepping into the truth of it and living from that truth.
If someone is aggressive, abusive, degrading, and unhealthy for you to be around, then by all means break free; however remember that other Maya Angelou quote, “When we know better, we do better.”
Break free, with compassion in your heart, knowing that this person has no idea who they truly are.
Break free, with compassion in your heart and hold in consciousness a prayer for them to wake up and realize the divinity of their being.
Break free, with compassion in your heart because you knew enough to know what was best for you and you were wise enough to act upon that knowledge.
And as you break free, with compassion in your heart, continue to ask yourself… are you also free from the personas and façades that you may be living from or are you free from those as well?