This was an expression made by Oprah in one of her many great interviews. The first time I heard this I was completely shocked. This resonated so much with me, more than I could explain. I have spent a great deal of my life making excuses for others and not willing to see the clear signs that were right there in front of me.
Today I would like to talk about this simple phrase that brought so much insight to me and I believe that it can help you too on your journey to separate the wheat from the chaff .
Five years ago I met the most wonderful man. He was handsome and had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. We fell in love, and yes it was that kind of ‘love at first sight’ thing. I met him on a packed busy night out, when I saw him I didn’t move until he came and spoke to me; from then on the sparkles flew all over the place. It was an attraction almost as strong as gravity. After spending the whole night dancing we exchanged numbers and had our first kiss; from then on I was hooked for five years straight.
He lived 185 miles away from where I lived and at the time I had no car so seeing each other was a matter of detailed organisation. What we managed to do for a whole year and half. We would see each other pretty much every weekend as we both worked during the week. I have to say, he was the one travelling the distance most of the time. Opening the door after having been waiting to see him for a whole week was like heaven. No fringe in me would think that this would ever come to an end. For me he was the one. I loved every little hair on his head to his little toes. To him I was the first woman he brought home. The first one to meet his grandmother and the rest of his family; and the one to celebrate new year with his best friends. As you can see all was set for a successful life together. Needless to say that I spent all my free time dreaming of our wedding. (That’s an inside female note, please don’t judge me).
Although love was strong and present it wasn’t enough to last. The distance was too much. As I couldn’t make all the parties or some other occasions there were, of course, other women who made sure to fill that gap. Because of this I grew insecure over us and over myself. He loved dancing and so he often took one day of the weekend nights off to go and dance, as I lived on the other side (of the world) I couldn’t go dancing with him and so he did this with a “friend”. (The first red flag; who not so long after we broke up became his girlfriend but they eventually broke up not so long after that). Which was of course like a needle in my heart every time I thought of it. He was honest with me and so I trusted him with my most precious. But as time passed by, the distance and the so called friendly dance partner started to come in between us.
Well, life happened. One day we went to a lovely restaurant and after that he broke my heart and told me that he didn’t think that we were made for each other and that this wouldn’t work. Hearing this shook my whole being, I was young and over my head in love and this did hurt more than I could put in to words. This was another red flag, but instead of listening to it; I choose to ignore it.
We parted ways, but not so long after that he contacted me again and from then on the wheel kept turning. Instead of learning the lesson once; that when someone had hurt you that deep, you shouldn’t offer them this same broken heart again for them to keep, I did exactly that. I would travel around the world and meet new people but right when I would start opening myself again for a new romance I would receive one of his messages and just like a drug I would be hooked again, thinking that we could give it one more chance.
On one side he was a friendly kind and generous man with a good heart; on the other side he could be this cold hearted person that I barely recognized. I remember once he invited me to his mother’s fiftieth anniversary, this was a year after we broke up and had barely seen each other. I accepted the invitation, I was young and foolish what else could I do? So I went all the way there, only to hear him declaring somewhere in the middle of the party to his family members that he would never get back with me that between us there was nothing left. I felt hurt and humiliated, why would he have me come 185miles far for this occasion if I meant nothing to him? Red flag number three, but again, I choose to ignore it.
I would go travelling, but once I was back in the country we would meet up. Sometimes we would be so close that it would feel like we had never left; and other times he would sit on the corner telling his friends all the 101 reasons why I wasn’t good enough. Which would weaken my self confidence and my self worthiness big time. You would think that I learned the lesson by then but it took me five years of these ups and downs to finely hit that point. It wasn’t till I heard this simple saying: When people show you who they are believe them from the first time, not the 29th time. That I realised what was happening. He had showed me many times before that I couldn’t trust him with what was most precious to me, my heart; but still I kept on avoiding to see this simple truth that was right in front of me and decided to chase something that wasn’t there. I have to add to this that he wasn’t a bad man, in fact he had helped me in so many ways and deep down he has a good heart also he gave me plenty of mixed signals; such as coming to see me for a few days once I moved to London. I mean I’m a woman, when a man those that for you; you just melt. But the thing was, his good heart wasn’t meant to be with mine. You see, not all good souls are meant to run in the same direction as your good soul. But I choose not to see this and because of that it had cost me so much.
This particular phrase made me think past my romantic relationships. I have had friends who wanted me to be a certain way, who didn’t love or accept me the way I was. Instead of seeing this from the first time and taking distance I would ignore the signs and hold on to the idea of a friendship. Of course it was only a matter of time before the castle came tumbling down. I would realise that I couldn’t live up to the expectations of an untrue friendship and would then let go. But this would be after spending many years of investing in the wrong things instead of allowing the emptiness, in order to meet the right people and create relationships and friendships that were healthier for me.
Looking back in my life I had seen many times where people showed me who they were but I had chosen to deny this. This is why I wanted to tell you this story today. Hoping that it wouldn’t cost you as much tears, energy, time and money as it had cost me to learn from the 29th time. Instead you can choose to see the signs of an unhealthy relationship right away and get yourself out of there before this would consume the time that you could spend building better and healthier relationships around you.