He finally appears.  After having cleaned all the flower beds and raked all the leaves.  The six-foot long black snake.  There all along.  Lurking.  Waiting for an opportunity to slither right through all your hard work.

Have you ever had a friendship like that?  Someone you thought stood beside you through the trials, only to find out they were part of the trials?

It’s heart breaking, isn’t it?  To think someone is on your side.  To think your secrets are safe.  To think someone truly understands you.  And then to have them turn on you.  Like a starving wolf after its prey.  Has this ever happened to you?  It has happened to me.  More than once.  Most recently in relation to my real estate career.  Actually more in my real estate career than at any other time in my life.  At the risk of giving my own profession a big, black eye, I will state that I do not find this surprising.  For although there are some absolutely wonderful, professional, people in real estate, it is also chock-full of people who are virtually unemployable in any other setting.

You would think it would be easy.  Spotting them, that is.  The back-stabbing, lying, two-faced leach that has attached itself to you and/or your business, but it’s not.  Perhaps that sounds a little bitter.  I really don’t mean for it to, it’s just I have little tolerance for this type of behavior.  You put yourself out on a limb to help someone, and they take advantage of you.  Is it that sometimes we are just too trusting?  When we put ourselves out there, helping others, offering our support, are we leaving ourselves open to be easy prey?  Would we be doing ourselves a favor to withdraw?  Is it better to just let every person fend for themselves and not get involved?  This has been a question I have asked myself often.  It has been a vow I have made to myself after every hurt and heartache I have experienced from those I once called friend.

But is it really any way to live?  All shriveled up inside of ourselves.  Afraid of putting ourselves out there for fear of being taken advantage of or having our feelings hurt.   The way I see it, that’s when they win.  That’s when the snake wraps itself around you and chokes the life out of us.  We must never consent to being anyones victim.  Yeah, we are gonna get knocked down, and you bet, sometimes it’s gonna hurt.  But we have to pull ourselves up and put ourselves back out there again.  Anything less and we lose.

It’s my belief that the people we attract into our lives – the good, the bad, the ugly – are all there for a reason.  Maybe we have to learn from them; maybe they have to learn from us.  I don’t believe in accidents.  I am, however, a firm believer in “what goes around comes around.”  And I believe that the “what” picks up speed as it is going around.  Sometimes, at least in my own personal experience, it seems we make the same mistakes with the same types of people.  I have a soft heart.  I am a sucker for a sob story.  I have faith that everyone CAN achieve their dreams.  What I have had to learn the hard way are the hard truths that not everyone wants to WORK for their dreams.  Sure, they sound good out loud, maybe even look good on paper, but in reality, it’s just too much work for some people.  That’s okay.  That’s their decision.  And it’s their problem to figure out how to make it work.  I really cannot help.  I can encourage, but it stops there.

Even after all the heartache, headaches and money spent, I am thankful for the experiences.  I’ve learned a lot more about character, a lot more about human nature.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and gained an even greater appreciation for the amazing people I have in my life who have loved and supported me with friendship for many, many years.  Like the black snake above, some people will slither through my life; others are the rocks that hold everything in place.  Thank God for them.

The key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be- and when they’re not, we cry.”  Anonymous

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough.” – Frank Crane

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