I read this somewhere quite recently.. a pair of words brought together, beautifully by Mark Twain ~ “ Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.” It did not seem much important to me that day, but as I was riding a bus on my way back home, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I tend to over think sometimes and imagine the worst of any situation.. but by the end of the day, I always believe in giving people the benefit the doubt, and suggested, as I often do, people rarely intend to be hurtful.
Sometimes when I travel on city buses alone, I try chatting up with co passengers and sometimes these conversations take on to the next level, very deep and perpetual. Once in a while you realize that all these total strangers on the bus, are just a different version of us. In one of such conversations a nice lady in her 40s commented that I’ve obviously never encountered a sociopath.
This got me thinking about the many times I’ve heard my girl friends refer to guys they’ve been with as sociopaths and narcissists. Most of these guys are likely to have treated them horribly, but this does not mean that they have had mental disorders of any kind.!!
There are sociopaths out there, I agree.. but more often than not when people hurt us, it’s not because of psychiatric diagnoses. May be it’s because they’re hauling around pain from their pasts and crashing it into everyone they meet. When someone knowingly manipulates or uses others, or deliberately tries to control or intimidate them and they aren’t mentally ill, it’s rarely a happy, well-adjusted person who simply decided to be heartless and cruel.
Sometimes mistakes happen ! People you love and care about do shitty stuff and you end up hurt ! it’s sometimes no ones fault.. and sometimes its every ones!
In understanding this, we can be compassionate—but that doesn’t mean we need to willingly accept mistreatment. Then question then becomes: how do we know when to give someone the benefit of the doubt, and when to withhold it?
One of my favorite Oprah quote is, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” While I don’t believe any “one” action defines who someone is, I think there’s something to this. Actions speak louder than words. And repeated actions are what shape our character and reputation.
If someone says they want to spend time together but repeatedly fails to show up, they are communicating that they aren’t willing to follow through on their promises. If someone says they’re trustworthy but repeatedly lies, they are communicating that their word can’t be trusted. If someone says they want to change but repeatedly fails to make an effort, they are communicating that aren’t willing to do things differently.
I would say that Acknowledging this isn’t forming judgments. It’s recognizing the facts so that we can make a wise choice based on how things are—not how we want them to be. We may recognize we’re being mistreated and choose to set and enforce a boundary. But We all deserve second chances, and sometimes a third or fourth.
But there are other times we need to open our eyes so that we know when enough is enough. It’s never our fault when someone else hurts us, but it’s within our power to stop allowing it.