It is often known by most people that we are rarely hurt, disappointed, or deceived by strangers. The truth is, you are not as trusting of someone you do not know or of someone with whom you do not have some level of familiarity. Because you are fearful of what can and will be done to you, by someone you do not know, you will have your antennas up and cover yourself with your protective shield. In all actuality, it is rarely the stranger you fear who will break your heart, break into your home, break your confidence, break your rhythm, or break the essence of who you are. And you probably ask, why is this so?
You and I both know that we rarely, if at all, will allow a stranger to get too close to us. You and I are not willing to invest in strangers or trust them with our hearts, our minds, our body, or our souls…it just seems too risky, too dangerous, and the fear of the unknown outcome is too great. Now for some of you, you might not have this fear or carry these sentiments. Whatever the case, any time you allow others into your life while investing your heart, your mind, our time, your soul, and the essence of who you are, you put yourself in a position to be deceived and betrayed.
Although the stranger you meet is someone to be suspicious of, concerned about, and fearful of, you will probably not allow him/her to get close enough to you to hurt you, betray you, and deceive you. But, when you think about it, the person you fell in love with, the person you allowed in your head, allowed in your bed, slept with, ate with, and shared your secrets with, was a stranger at some point.
It is often a fact that prior to your intimacy with this person you allowed to cross the line into your self-life and secret life was a stranger. As you begin to ponder, think about, and assess the realities as to how you all moved from stranger-ship to friendship and then to an intimate relationship, you will come to recognize how blessed you are and how blessed you have been to have come as far as you have, while being unscathed. This person could have taken you out of your mind, out of your misery, and out of the very essence of who you are! You really did not and probably still do not know him/her.
If you are familiar with someone and have spent a fair amount of time with him/her, you are more likely to trust them and allow them to cross the great divide between stranger-ship, friendship, and then an eventual relationship. However, many of you believe that because you knew someone while growing up, because you all lived in the same block, played in the same neighborhood, you all attended the same school, and you enjoyed some of the same activities, nothing negative can or will happen to you. But, you are so mistaken! You haven't seen Joe or Emily in years. You can only identify with their past, but not their present, and you most certainly cannot identify with their future. You really don’t know them!
Because you believe you ‘know” someone, you will more than likely place your faith and your hope in them, believing they have your back. However, they will probably let you down at some point. As a result, you will lose confidence in them. Not only will it be difficult for you to trust them, it will be extremely difficult for you to trust yourself and others, especially when you feel betrayed and deceived.
If you were to rewind the movie reel of your relationships with these people, you would come to recognize that you saw the red flags quite some time before you allowed them into your life, investing in them with your confidence, your trust, and your beliefs. You believed and hoped that they would change. To change means to become different. The reality is people aren’t prone to become different. Your continuous investment in people who are continuously doing the same things they did yesterday, with additional excuses, and apologizes that mean absolutely nothing, is not so much an indictment of them as it is one of you. As a matter of fact, this is INSANE! The unfaithful will only stop being unfaithful to you when you stop accepting the behavior and enabling them to mistreat you and cheat on you as you have allowed month after month and year after year. The only thing they change is the nature of their game! It is time for you to ‘Recognize the Deceiver to Avoid Being Deceived!”
And you say your best friend, your children, your mate, your parents, your boss and others have disappointed you? They have constantly betrayed and deceived you? How were they able to violate your trust, unless you ignored your own truths and the truths these people have shown to you? Did you have unrealistic expectations of these people? Yes, it is true that when you have lemons, you can make lemonade, but the lemon will still be a lemon!
Whether your relationship with someone is platonic or intimate, the reality is, PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE…THEY GROW! The greatest growth occurs when people mature and GROW UP! If they were deceptive when you met them, they will probably be deceptive when you leave them or they leave you. The only thing that changes is the depth of their deception; they step up their deception game, but they remain the same!
You must learn to see the deceiver you allowed into your life or the one who gained entry into your life through your blindness or state of desperation in his/her true light…as a deceiver. And with a deceiver comes deception. A leopard never changes its spots and a zebra never changes its stripes. You knew he/she was married when you became involved with him/her and now you are feeling betrayed because there is still a spouse in the picture! Why? You made wedding plans, but he/she never committed to you. However, you are blaming your mate and feeling betrayed. Why? You put your own ‘business’ in the street, letting everyone know your secrets. Now you are upset and feeling betrayed because your ‘best’ friend and your family are talking about your ‘business.’ Why? He/she was a habitual cheater while the two of you were dating, but you married him/her anyhow, believing he/she would change. Why? The truth is, you deceived and betrayed yourself. Therefore, you must come to recognize yourself as a deceiver when you aren’t willing to see the truth, stand for the truth, and speak the truth, just so that you can live a lie of pleasure for a short time.
At some point, you must come to realize that many times you set yourself up for the deceptions and the betrayals that you encounter in your life. You believe in the wrong people, the wrong situations and the wrong circumstances; investing in the wrong people, the wrong situations or the wrong circumstances; trusting in the wrong people, the wrong situations, and the wrong circumstances, without believing in, investing in, and trusting in a higher power, along with believing in, investing in, and trusting in yourself. Remember, deception and betrayal have a lot to do with the choices you make; choices such as whom you choose to allow into your life, whom you choose to keep in your life even if you did not invite them into your life, whom you trust, with whom you place your faith, your heart, your belief, and your expectations.
It is time for you to stop investing your energy in people and relationships that don’t yield the returns you expect; that’s if you are looking for or expecting returns. You will most certainly get what you expect, and if you expect nothing, you will receive absolutely NOTHING! Some of you were so bent on returning the White House to a fully ‘white’ house, in order to get President Obama out of the White House and out of the his-story books, that you were willing to do almost anything. You placed your trust, your hope, your beliefs and your expectations in a deceiver who had shown you who and what he stood for. You believed that you would receive something different during the 2016 presidential election by voting for the person currently serving as the president of this great nation; or you chose not to vote at all. Either way, you invested in the choice you made, you had high hopes, and you had high expectations. However, over the past seven months, you have felt let down, betrayed, and deceived. It seems as if the green grass you sought has become artificial turf. At this point, you are feeling very disappointed. The question is, who betrayed whom? You set yourself up to receive the outcome that has taken place, and there is no one to take responsibility for the outcome but you, especially when you saw the reality of what you would be getting from the onset. You recognized the deceiver, but you did not avoid being deceived!
Take some time to sit back and take stock of your life through reflective engagement. This time is not intended as a time to kick yourself in the ass because of your past mistakes. It is a time for you to take a look at those mistakes and assess the role you played in them occurring. Some crucial mistakes are the ones you made by letting old flames and old relationships to reenter and rekindle in your life without having full knowledge of their past or their present, and without a connection to and with your future. It is also looking at the new relationships you formulate, quickly crossing the lines from stranger-ship to friendship, and then relationship, without in depth knowledge of their past, their present, or their dreams for their future. These are the people you allowed into your life without instituting clear and consistent boundaries, ensuring balance in your life. These are the people who brought you packages not wrapped in your favorite color, but packages wrapped in your least favorite color. These are packages sometimes wrapped in your favorite color, but they do not have your name on them. These are packages of deception and betrayal. These are packages where you must “Recognize the Deceiver to Avoid Being Deceived!”
You must also come to recognize that when you don’t have clear boundaries and allow imbalance to take hold of your life, you are setting yourself up for deceit and betrayal. In other words, you are setting up for the ‘okie doke.’ People cannot deceive you or betray you unless you trust them and allow them to take up space in your head, your heart, and your soul. When you allow people to park in your private parking space of life, you render yourself helpless and vulnerable to deception and betrayal. Why are you picking up a snake and putting it in your bosom or pocket? And when it bites you, you feel deceived and betrayed. The snake didn’t deceive you or betray you…you knew it was a snake when you picked it up, and you know what snakes do!
Even though years have weathered who and what you thought you knew, as well as what you currently believe you know about people in your life, you must be careful about letting your guard down and invoking your honor of trust, confidence, faith, respect, and love in people who are not in the same book, the same chapter, or the same page as you. You must also not be so desperate to be with somebody, that you wind up with anybody, who turns out to be nobody. You cannot be deceived if you keep your mind, your eyes, your spirit, your truth, and your mouth open. Everyone who comes your way is not necessarily going your way!
You must recognize and prepare yourself for the setup of deceit and betrayal. You must also recognize the role you play in the deceit and betrayal process. Deceit is a deadly force that is not easy to defeat. Although it is very difficult for you to experience deceit and betrayal, you can recover from them. You have to take them for what they are and stand up to them when they appear by calling them exactly what they are. It is time for you to stop trying to battle with deceit and betrayal and learn to run from them and leave them behind! Deal with the emotional let down associated with these two demons and recognize the lessons learned from your experiences associated with having courted them for a time. Learn to forgive yourself and forgive the deceiver and the betrayer; they are not worth carrying in your heart; your heart is not big enough to share space with mess. This is also not the time to be vindictive or to get back at anyone; they are not worth it! However, it is the time for you to develop a plan of action for you to move forward in life, without deception and betrayal.
Thank God that you are still here to tell your story and you have decided to no longer allow deceit and betrayal to take up space in your home, your mind, your heart, or your spirit! They should not take up space for which they are not paying rent!
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