Learn to Listen to Behavior
In a world where talk is cheap, how do you know who to trust?
Allana sat anxiously at her dinner table, lightly tapping the surface. Her eyes gazing softly at her cell phone, but her thoughts far away. Allana had been waiting two long hours. A glass of red wine and a half empty bottle accompanied her. “I’m sure something came up”, she thought to herself. Her thoughts were spinning at a rapid pace, just enough to cause a tightness in her chest. Suddenly, her phone buzzed. Excited she launched towards the phone, only to find a work e-mail. Confusion set over her. To avoid misery at all cost, Allana picked up her phone and began checking social media. She went straight to Marc’s page, searching for any clue of his existence. You see, Marc had originally planned a date with Allana. A date she had been looking forward to all week. Instead on a Friday night, she found herself alone and waiting. Allana thought back to all of the beautiful things Marc had said to her. “I want to introduce you to my parents. You can trust me. I won’t hurt you. I think you about you all the time.” His charming voice taunted her. She took another sip of wine. Her phone buzzed again, the noise slicing through the silence. “Text message from Marc”, it read in bold white letters. Slowly, she opened the message. “Sorry baby, won’t be able to make it tonight. Work ran super late and I’m exhausted. Don’t be upset with me, I promise I’ll make it up to you.” Allana felt extremely annoyed. “Why couldn’t he tell me that he wasn’t able to make it sooner, I thought we talked about this?” After all, it wasn’t the first time Marc had flaked on Allana. It seemed to become somewhat of a routine. She walked into her bedroom and began taking off the makeup she so happily put on before. She peered down at her phone and saw that Marc had texted again. “Baby you know how much I wanted to see you tonight.” Allana’s heart softened. Marc had been working really hard to get a new promotion. She admired him for his perseverance and felt guilty for wanting more of his attention. “I should be more supportive,” she thought.
Right before she was about to text back, her best friend Laney called. “Allana, what you up to?” Laney said loudly into the phone. The background filled with noisy conversation.
“I’m at home, decided to stay in tonight,” Allana said casually.
“What why... It’s Friday? I’m out at a gorgeous lounge, you must join me… Plus your guy is here”, she said happily.
Allana’s heart sank. “Marc is there?”
We live in a time of texts, emails, captions, and tweets. Often, words act as empty promises with no real intent behind them. They have lost the power they once had, abandoning us with the well-known lesson that actions do in fact speak louder than words.
In the beginning of all relationships, words are all we have. I’ve repeatedly caught myself falling in love with words. Neatly packaged syllables that create the building blocks to my augmented reality. As time went on, words became my biggest downfall. I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated as the words of others did not support their actions. The dissonance was easily seen. Yet, it took time for me to truly accept that some people just lack integrity, and integrity is a must have in healthy relationships. If you can’t trust another their words, then why are they still in your life? If everything they say goes against everything they do, they don’t really mean what they’re saying. What are their actions really telling you?
Learning to listen to behavior is tough at first because we like to give people the benefit of the doubt. You may not want to believe that your new lover or friend is not the person he/she claims to be. You may try to justify or create excuses, but the truth is evident in the behavior. For example, Marc stood up Allana and has done so many times. Do you think Marc truly cares about Allana? Do you know how long it takes to send a simple text saying, “Won’t be able to make tonight.” Or even a short phone call. We cannot allow our yearning for intimacy and friendship to blind us and entice us to settle for less than we deserve.
Below, are some questions to ask yourself about the people in your life. You may also ask yourself these questions to assess your own standing in words vs. action.
· Do they say they will call/meet up and leave you hanging?
· When they say they are going to do something, do they follow through?
· How much do you trust what they are telling you?
· Do you find yourself second guessing them often?
· Do you consistently find yourself waiting on them?
· Do they say sweet things, then turn around and treat you badly?
· Do you often find yourself comparing what they said, to how they are acting?
· When they speak, do you feel they are being authentic, or just telling you what they think you want to hear?
· Do you find yourself making excuses and justifying their actions?
· If you take away words, and only listen to their actions, would you still want them in your life?
You deserve to have people around you that you can trust. Integrity should be a standard, not a bonus. You deserve to be treated with love and respect. Anything less than that is settling. When someone shows you who they believe them. Those who really love you shouldn’t make you feel bad all the time. There are good people out there, but you won’t attract them by keeping those who continuously mistreat you around. Eliminate the bullshit, and create space for those whose actions live up to their words. Every time you say “no” to those who have hurt you, you take one step closer to love, happiness, stability, and the life I know you deserve.
Master Healer of the Mind, Body, and Spirit.