There was a You Tube posting by the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on a lesson that Maya Angelou provided to Oprah Winfrey regarding relationships. The You Tube posting was originally done by OWN on March 14, 2013. It was posted again on Facebook on September 6, 2013.
The title of the lesson is “When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them”. Oprah amended the title of the lesson to “When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them the First Time.” Oprah felt that she had to have way too many examples of bad behavior before she accepted the person’s own evaluation.
As a personal lesson for Oprah and others, Angelou’s recommendation makes great sense. If someone tells you “I am a bad person or I am a mean person”, Angelou says that you should believe them.
Angelou points out that the speaker will then do something that is consistent with what they say about their self. As Angelou points out, beliefs and actions are tightly related. People will do what reinforces what they believe they are. Believe them the first time they tell you this was Angelou’s message to Oprah.
What is missing from Oprah and Maya Angelou's discussion is that the people that are revealing their assessment of how they see their selves are also revealing their own beliefs about their selves. In order to change their behavior, they have to change their own beliefs.
Changing a personal belief is difficult, but that is how people progress. First they tell you, and then they show you. Before that, they tell themselves that they are "bad, mean, or whatever" and then they do what they believe themselves to be to prove their belief.
You become what you believe you are, and you change who you are by changing what you believe to be true about yourself. One of the greatest causes of suffering is the belief that you are not worthy. You are worthy.
You are here for a reason. We all are here for a reason. There are no exceptions or accidental conditions that have us existing. We have a purpose to fulfill. If you stop using negative labels for yourself, you can change your beliefs and your behavior in the world.
You need to redefine yourself, and then live up to your positive definition. There is a curious and serious error in the American psyche that equates self-love with egotism. Egotistical people never love themselves. If they did, they would not be trying to put other people down so they could feel good about their selves
We all need to work on loving ourselves. The Golden Rule is a very interesting commandment by Jesus. He said, “Love God, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” In fact, you will always love your neighbor as you love yourself.
If you believe that you are unworthy and cannot be trusted, you cannot love or trust your neighbor or anyone else you encounter. There is an affirmation that we say occasionally in our church service. If you can implant this message in your heart as well as your brain, it will change your life.
I am a child of the Creator.
I am worthy of all good things.
I am grateful for your love.
Thank you, God, for everything.
Believe in yourself. Know that you are worthy. Be grateful for everything that happens because you are part of the Creator’s plan. You will become what you believe. Make your beliefs positive and change your world.
Maya Angelou provides this parting quote:
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
You can see other inspiring quotes from Maya Angelou at http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3503.Maya_Angelou.