Truth? I’m actually pretty surprised I find myself writing this post. I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I have few disappointments. When you’ve been through enough “stuff,” it usually takes quite a bit to throw you off your game.
I mostly struggled with disappointment in my teens and early 20s. My expectations of what the world and people owed me were ridiculously high, and as a result I’d frequently find myself despondent over one disappointment after another. In the end, I toughened up and stopped giving so much and therefore expecting so much in return.
Then this week happened. And no, I’m not referring to the election results (Feel free to share your thoughts on that HERE), I’m referring to the fact that I fell victim to someone who is not only a pathological liar, but also perhaps suffers from Anti-Social Personality Disorder. I’m not an expert, of course, but I’ve had a year-long friendship with this person only to discover lie after life, deceit after deceit. The lying, I also discovered, was almost compulsive, which is frightening.
Have you ever encountered someone who lied just because? Whose lies were always going to be discovered, but they lied anyway? I’ve literally spent this entire week reading up on this very dangerous, and pathological personality and I am beyond grateful to have gotten out with only a few scratches and bruises.
I’m revealing all of this because I like you guys. You’re my people, and I like to take you with me as I navigate life and its many challenges. I won’t get into all of the gory details, but suffice it to say your girl has learned her lesson. My relationship with this friend/business associate not only resulted in some major disappointment, but it was on the brink of causing harm to my brand. And y’all know, your girl does not mess around with the Lisa A La Mode brand. While I spent much of yesterday feeling badly and disappointed, today I’m feeling incredibly positive and grateful.
My brand is growing, not as quickly as I’d like, but it’s growing. And before I venture into what I know is ahead, it’s important that I smarten up and recognize that before you trust too fully, you must allow someone to prove themselves worthy of your trust.
Here are some tips I’ve learned through my own experience that may help you to avoid disappointment:
Do not ignore the obvious signs that this person is not whom they present themselves to be.
Get to know the person. Get to know people who know the person. Find out, if you can, some information about their family background and the relationships they have with those family members. Why? Because folks who have messed up relationships with their family members, particularly their parents and siblings, are usually people you don’t want to mess with. Because either 1. They are crazy and their family members have distanced themselves. or 2. Their family members are dysfunctional and raised them to be just as dysfunctional. I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule, but the older I get the more I realize I’m not willing to risk it to find out if someone is an exception.
Your job, when forming any new relationships, is to observe. Observe the behavior of the individual. Verify, if you can, what they tell you.
Enter into the relationship with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Try not to confuse who you want this person to be with who this person actually is.
Be willing to accept who this person is without taking it personally.
Every disappointment is a lesson learned. I know it’s cliche, but hear me out. I did not know people like the person I’ve described exist in the world. I’ve seen them on shows like Dateline, but I didn’t think they were real. I was naive, and I needed to learn this lesson now. I needed to be pinched now, as my business is growing, so I’m not punched in the face later.
So the next time you find yourself disappointed or your expectations have not been met, take a minute to recognize the blessing there is in knowledge. The blessing and the power that comes with knowing exactly where you stand.