When People Show You Who They Are Believe Them

This was a life pearl given by Dr. Maya Angelou to Oprah Winfrey. According to Huff post.com, Oprah then remembers that Dr. Angelou asked her, “ My dear, why must you be shown 29 times before you can see who they really are? Why can’t you get it the first time?

Maya Angelou and Oprah

If a person says to you I’m selfish, or I’m mean, or I’m unkind. Believe them. They know themselves much better than you. ~ Dr. Maya Angelou (1997)

This is a a question I have asked myself before and sometimes I still do. If I was talking to Dr. Angelou and she asked me the same question. I would have answered:

  • Everyone has potential to be better.
  • There is good in everyone.
  • People can change if they love you.
  • Someone who cares enough about you, would consider how you feel.
  • If I treat people good they will in turn treat me the same.

I wondered what her response would have been to a 21 year old girl in 1997 trying to figure out life. However, as I have grown I truly believe what she said, BELIEVE PEOPLE. Believe what they say. Believe what they do. Believe how they treat you.

Believe the performance the first time.

From family members, business relationships, to personal relationships you have to believe what a person say and most importantly what a person do. Most people believe a person can change. I was once told a Zebra can’t change it’s strips. I believe we think, a person can change into what we want because we haven’t accepted that that’s how they truly are.

Acceptance is key to understanding.

Allowing people to violate you more than once, says a lot about a person character to me. That mean you are willing to believe and have hope that they will change. Or maybe it’s a mental thought that potential is there for the person to be what you want?

Dr. Angelou stated if you allow people to do this, you don’t trust life. I thought that was so deep and interesting. So I had to ask myself, Do I trust Life? When I was younger definitely NOT, as an adult YES.

Keep in mind that allowing constant violations you are not giving yourself what you deserve and you end up with a lot of hurt and disappointment. Sometimes even causing resentment towards the person. I hate the emotion of disappointment. It’s the worst feeling in the world. You feel defeated because you believed in that person.


Once we accept that people have the right to be who they are. They don’t owe us change, especially if they feel they are living right. They are own their own path. You have the right to determine what kind of people you want in our life. So it actually it work both ways, once we accept that that’s who they are. You can then make your decision.

I never forget a close friend told me, “If you lay down with a snake and it bite why are you surprised.” It’s a snake.

I have been a fool so many times with friendships and in relationships. I was trying to be the bigger person who looked passed faults. I was that person who always gave a second-chance to violate me, knowing the entire time I was fool for doing so. People showed me who they were but I believed just maybe their was some potential. I ignored their truth. And it was costly.


Life Lesson: You can’t be mad at the person who violated you 29 times, you have to be mad at yourself for not believing them the first time. It’s safe to say never trust a person that has let you down more than once. Because anything more is your own fault.

It’s your fault and it’s ok. In order to grow you have to take ownership. Trust the process. Just don’t be a repeat offender to allow someone to violate you. It should only take one time. When someone show you who they are believe them the first time.

What are your thoughts? Comment Below

Photo Credit: Canva and Pinterest

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