See People For Who They Truly Are

Written by on February 2, 2015 in Self-Awareness

How to See People For Who They Truly Are


Have you ever experienced a gut reaction to someone warning you to avoid getting involved with them either personally or professionally?

It could be as simple as a feeling of discomfort in response to a comment or behavior that challenged your personal or ethical boundaries. More often than not we shrug these feelings off as irrational because we genuinely want to give people the benefit of the doubt.

The question is what to do once the proverbial red flag goes up. If you’re not sure what the root cause of your reaction is the best thing to do is simply respect your feelings and resolve to take a little extra time to get to know this person before making any commitments.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. ~Maya Angelou

How to See People for Who They Truly Are

Recognize That Sometimes We See People As We Want Them to Be

It’s so easy to get caught up in expectations, hopes, and desires, but respecting others means allowing them to be themselves. The truth is we don’t know most people half as well as we believe we do, and the only way to remedy that is to listen and pay attention.

People will show you who they really are by their actions and the way they treat you and others. If you are clear about your values and boundaries, it will be easy to recognize whether or not to welcome this person into your life.

Acknowledge Your Biases

No matter how sensitive and enlightened you may be, we all carry come biases as a result of past experiences and hurts. It’s important to not only accept that we have certain blind spots but also to learn to recognize the triggers that may cause us to react toward others in a negative or defensive way.

Know When to Let Go

Sometimes, no matter how much you may wish otherwise, someone just doesn’t fit into your life. It doesn’t mean they are bad or in need of repair, it’s just that their values, wants and needs don’t align with yours. Thank them for their interest in being in your life or working with you, but let them know that this doesn’t feel like a good fit.

Don’t feel guilty, or assume you need to offer an apology or explanation, this is what creating healthy boundaries is all about.

Or, Learn to Accept Unconditionally

Occasionally there will be someone who may not be a perfect fit, but you determine the benefits far outweigh the risks. When this is the case accept them for who they are and set clear boundaries with them, but do NOT try to change them.

Remember, if you are choosing to welcome this person into your life it will be up to you to maintain boundaries and to accept them fully and completely.

Life is about learning, and one of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn is to take the time to see people for who they truly are because whether it’s a friend, lover or client, it’s a whole lot easier to let someone into your life than it is to remove them.

Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click here.


Thank you for sharing!

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  1. Jenni Ryan

    I have learned to trust my gut instinct and a lot of the times it is often right. I find when I don’t trust it is when that person reveals themselves eventually anyway. I love this website and the articles. Look forward to reading more.
    Jenni Ryan recently posted…MLM Prospecting Tips: Don’t Be FooledMy Profile

  2. Mark

    What a truly awesome and incredibly insightful post M!

    But first, let me me say that I truly love your quote by Anais Nin!

    And your extremely timely advice about simply knowing when to let go!

    That’s huge and I think a problem that many of us (myself included) definitely periodically struggle with!

    And like you also pointed out, we often get way too caught up our personal expectations, hopes and desires for the other person and or party etc!

    You’ve shared (as usual) some totally excellent and extremely practical advice!
    Mark recently posted…How To Use Your Inventory Closeouts For More Than Just A Quick Buck!My Profile

  3. Arleen

    I think I go with my gut then any other tool. Interestingly enough it turns out that my gut is usually right. In order to maintain a healthy relation with anyone I agree with you that one needs to maintain boundaries and to accept them fully and completely.
    Arleen recently posted…How to Make People Fall in Love with Your BrandMy Profile

  4. donna merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    I always trust my “gut” feeling. When it rises with a red flag, I have to ask myself why. If, however I will go through with a relationship of a client or friend, I keep my eye out for their repeated behavior.

    To me, words are words, but a person’s repeated behavior tells me who they really are.

    If I get the feeling of negativity, I do have to do a lot of soul searching and understand if it is neuro-linked to something in my own past. But as I go on, I keep setting up my boundaries. That part I have no trouble with.

    Indeed, when dealing with people, we have to understand weather it is our perception of them or not.

    Great post…you ALWAYS leave me thinking!

    donna merrill recently posted…Listbuilding For Bloggers | Why and HowMy Profile

  5. Patricia Weber

    This life lesson is one of the most difficult for sure Marquita. I’ve learned to let go much much more with people and situations. But as a couple, my husband and I are not in the same place on our path. Often times this can get in the way. That’s when – I know I need to let go of that too! Thanks. for this shared wisdom.
    Patricia Weber recently posted…Increase Your Awareness To Blog More From Your HeartMy Profile

  6. Hi Marquita..
    Such a beautiful site …
    I have learned to let go … so freeing when you realize you can’t control everything, that you have to just be …
    Lesly Federici recently posted…The Path To Tomorrow Part 1My Profile

  7. Christine Larsen

    Once upon a time, in a counselling training session I was doing, the point was made that humans have two ears and one mouth for a very good reason. Quietly listening is an amazing way to learn all about another person, or subject, or concept… whatever.
    And another incredible result, is learning that a viewpoint that is totally foreign to yours can be the catalyst for your own change of heart – IF you just listen carefully enough and weight your judgement fairly.
    Christine Larsen recently posted…I LOVE MY SCOTTISH ANCESTRY… stillMy Profile

  8. Dave

    You summarize the main points of this article so well Marty. We often see people as we want to see them – so very true. Acknowledge your biases – we all have them and sometimes it is difficult to accept what those biases are, even when we know we want to change them. Know when to let go and know when to accept unconditionally – this one is so easy to say, yet so difficult to do sometimes – both the letting go, as well as cultivating the habit of accepting unconditionally amid those things that may challenge adoption of that habit.

    One other thing that I attained from this article may be a little off tangent, but I will offer it up anyway. This article talks about how to see people for who they really are. However, I think these same general principles can also apply to each person and the goals or objectives that they pursue – jobs, careers, hobbies, etc. may be viewed one way when, in reality, their true natures do not align with who we are, and we need to follow the same steps in order to come to grips with our situation and see it in a new light.

    Great stuff, Marty, thanks again as always!
    Dave recently posted…Double helixMy Profile

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