Believe them – then start healing them
I used to think this quote from the beloved Dr. Angelou was about me. I guess for a long while I was in a place of feeling misunderstood most of the time and thus wondering why it felt like nobody was hearing me, seeing me, believing me. “Believe me when I tell you who I am the first time, damn it!!!”
And then I gravitated to feeling these words as warning signs from others. If someone showed their true colors with words or attitudes, then it was a good idea to keep my distance. To protect myself. And likewise, if someone bared their soul to me, the goal response was to take them in and love them with no further proof needed or questions asked.
But now its meaning has morphed yet again as things often do when revisited over the course of years. Now when I bump up against someone and hear myself saying, “I can’t believe that he said that!” or “How can she possibly behave in that way?!” I trust that there’s more to their story. That there is indeed an underlying reason for what they’re showing me.
In their revealing there is revelation. If I listen. If I choose to feel that next layer. If I choose to release my expected or hoped-for vision of them and instead meet them where they’re at – a place where they could use a bit of understanding to help unravel their anger or self righteousness or questionable behavior and reveal, and possibly heal, their hurt.
In a nutshell, I strive to believe that they’re showing me the exact place they need me to start loving them.