Tag Archives: Deceive

Poison Ivy

24 Feb

There are a lot of nice people in the world. People who care, who are kind, and who share their lives with us in positive and helpful ways. But unfortunately, there are also people who choose a different path. There are some who are mean, cruel, even criminal, and if they come into our lives, they can have a very negative impact. We don’t always know their true colors at the beginning which leaves us open for disaster. It’s like taking a walk in the woods and not knowing what poison ivy looks like. We see a vine that’s green and vibrant, and have no idea when we touch it that its powerful affects will cause us pain and discomfort. It’s only after our exposure that we see the terrible result. If someone in our lives presents themselves as caring and kind but in truth is manipulative and cruel, and we share our lives with them, when we discover the truth we will be hurt. If it’s someone we must interact with because of circumstances beyond our control, and we are forced to see them because they are family members, coworkers, or neighbors, the discomfort may be intense. When someone hurts us because they’ve fooled us, lied to us, or manipulated us, it takes time to heal. If we have to continue to see them, it takes even longer.

Life is all about learning. We don’t know what we don’t know, and the only way to find out what we don’t know is to learn as we go. That means we may trust someone who is untrustworthy because we don’t have all the facts. People who set their hearts on deception don’t tell us before they deceive that is their plan. They keep it secret and if they are very practiced, may expertly manipulate us to achieve their goal, whatever that may be. We may figure the truth out quickly, or we may be involved with them for years before we see things as they really are. But sooner or later, when we find the truth it may be devastating. We may feel like fools. We may blame ourselves thinking we should have known and feel horrible. But the blame for deception lies solely with the deceiver. We have no ownership for their behavior. We trusted, which is noble and good, and extended ourselves as friends. It can be hard to forgive ourselves when we’ve fallen for a lie, but believing in others until we have a reason not to, is appropriate.

When we are trying hard to be the best we can, it’s difficult to understand someone who chooses to deceive or hurt us purposely. It’s hard to comprehend such maliciousness but we are not responsible for anyone’s choices but our own. We can decide how to respond. We can choose to be noble even if someone near us has been hateful. We can choose to stand up for what’s right, even if we’ve been stung by what is wrong. If we must interact with them going forward, we can still be our best. We are courageous and brave enough to be near them and choose the right. We can set the example for good even in the face of trouble. We are stronger than we think we are. We know what is right, and nothing, and nobody, can ever diminish that.

Today if you’ve been hurt by someone who purposely deceived you or manipulated you to get something they wanted, it isn’t your fault. You know more now than you did before, and that knowledge will help you going forward. You are worth the very best of everything. You can choose the right and take the higher road at every step. There is an old saying that the best revenge is living well. No matter what has happened, no matter who has hurt you, live well. You know who you are. Choose the very best path. There is nothing that will diminish you.

Influence and Impression

30 Dec

There is a constant myth that Napoleon Bonaparte had a chip on his shoulder because he was very short, and today people sometimes refer to shorter men who are disagreeable as having a “Napoleon Complex.” However, historians say Napoleon was actually taller than the average male for his time and seemed short because he was surrounded by body guards who were much taller. If they are right, his short stature was just an interpretation of how he compared to those around him, and not a true reflection of who he was. When we think about that, it changes the entire picture. If he wasn’t short and didn’t have a complex about his height, the reputation associated with him is unwarranted. We, too, may be considered to be something we really aren’t simply because of where we are or with whom we are associating. It may be assumed that we have specific qualities because they are the attributes of those around us. We can seem to be very different than we really are because of situations we place ourselves in. They say perception is reality, and that’s often true. If we think something is happening a certain way, we believe it’s fact. But we can be wrong. And others can be wrong about us.

There is an old saying that “birds of a feather flock together.” That means we tend to spend time with others who are like us. We may feel more comfortable around others who share our perceptions and beliefs. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have friends and acquaintances we enjoy or with whom we spend time that are very different than we are. We all know all kinds of people, and sometimes our differences are very pronounced. If those differences are things that others find disagreeable or uncomfortable, they may be concerned that we share them. And like Napoleon, we may find we gain a reputation for being something we really aren’t. When that happens it can be complicated, especially if it impacts relationships close to us. Even though it’s just a perception and not reality, those we care about may confuse the two and we may find ourselves in a difficult state of affairs.

There is nothing wrong with having all sorts of friends around us. But if we notice their choices are damaging or hurtful in some way, we may want to re-evaluate our time with them. For instance, if we have a friend who deceives and struggles with the truth, our association with them may lead others to believe we share the same characteristics. Or if we have an acquaintance that has been in trouble for breaking the law, there may be some carryover of influence. This doesn’t mean we should only have people close to us who share our values and standards, however we should be aware of the influence of association. But there is a flip side to all of this. We have the power to influence as well. If we are strong in our beliefs and personal choices, if we set an example for a higher standard, we can be a positive force to those near us. And if we are, we may well impact them for good. And then our association with them will change, and others will see their growth and instead of worrying about us will be happy we were there for them.

Today if you’re concerned about an association or friendship you have because of differences in your personal choices, be the one who sets the example. Display behaviors that are positive and helpful. Others will be influenced by your good works and may be impressed to make a positive change in their lives. You can set a great example and be the light that leads the way.  We are all influenced by those around us. Today let your influence be excellent.