05/19/2014 11:18 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Tips on Seeing People for Who They Really Are

"The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them." -- Maya Angelou

The first week working with a new client, she says some things that really rubs you the wrong way or makes you feel as if she doesn't respect you and your time... along with emailing you a bagillion times. You brush it off -- surely she can't be that bad.

You're out with your new boyfriend and his co-workers for the first time, it's a big night for your relationship and you're excited... but what does he do? Completely ignore you the entire time. You let it go as an "off" night and try to chipper up.

At work you have lunch with a nice female co-worker -- you're on the hunt for new friends, after all. She immediately starts to dish out all the gossip from around the office. While you're not really comfortable, she seems nice enough so you smile and let it slide.

So when a month, or many months, later you find yourself working with a client who completely disrespects your time and talent, a boyfriend who's too concerned about other people to notice you and a co-worker who's told all your business to everyone in the office, you have no one but yourself to hold responsible.

But before you beat yourself up, know that it's not about blame.

It's about recognizing that these people showed you, from day one, who they really are and you chose to ignore or not believe it. You excused it for them, didn't set clear boundaries so that it wouldn't happen again (and what would happen if it does) and showed them that you're willing to put up with whatever they throw at you.


People don't change unless they want to.

Unless something in their life prompts it.

You have to learn to see people for who they really are, right from the get-go. If you don't like something about someone, or how they're treating you, don't expect that they're going to change just for you. It's who they are. Expecting any different only leads to frustration, disappointment and more hurt or disrespect. Not worth it!

It's okay to speak your mind and let them know what's not working for you, but it's not okay to expect them to change. More importantly, you have to honor yourself first and foremost. If someone is not a good fit for you, your life or your business, you are responsible for removing them. If they're not showing you the level of respect or care you deserve, don't expect that some day they'll realize it and either change or remove themselves. Take responsibility.

How to See People for Who They Really Are:

1) See them for who they really are, not who you want them to be.

Our biggest source of pain and frustration comes from lack of acceptance for what is. You may be bummed that the super awesome client seems to be a major pain in the butt, but there's nothing you can do or say to change who they are... and if they're someone who has no respect or consideration for you, they've got to go.

Be honest and let them know how you're feeling. If they want to change, decide whether or not it's worth your time and energy to give in one shot. Only one. Don't allow yourself to get stuck in a cycle of "change attempts." Be very clear about what would need to change and let them decide if that's doable. If they do, awesome. If they don't, honor yourself and release them from your life.

2) Trust your intuition.

If someone does or says something that feels off, wrong or hurtful to you, whether clear and obvious or indirectly, trust yourself. When talking to a new client, keep an eye out for red flags such as inconsideration for your schedule, an alarming amount of contact or questions, or hints that they believe whatever they say goes.

If you're out with a guy, and he shows any sign of disrespect, selfishness, inconsideration or that he's not really the right match for you, trust yourself.

Don't try to "talk it out" with the other person if alarm bells are sounding inside of you. If they want something, they'll say and do whatever it takes in the moment to steer you away from putting an end to the situation. You are the only person who knows what's right or wrong for you, so listen, trust and act on that powerful force within you.

3) Send them off with love!

Just because someone's truth isn't right for, or doesn't serve you, doesn't meant there's anything wrong with them. It's just who they are! There is someone out there who's a better personal or professional match.

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. No one can argue with what you feel. There's no need to attack someone, just let them be who they are and send them off with love. Wish them the best and move on with your life.

If they're someone you can't release, just stop engaging with them. If you're Chatty Cathy co-worker tries to engage you in some office gossip, let her know you're not interested. Don't be unkind, but don't go out of your way to talk with or engage her.

4) Or, learn to love them unconditionally.

If this person in your life is family, or incredibly important to you, then you have to learn to love them unconditionally. This ties back into seeing them for who they really are, not who you want them to be. When you step out of your own head and just see them as they are... another human being, does their absolute best to build a life in this world, then you can experience more compassion for the parts that you don't necessarily like.

Stop putting pressure on them to be something they're not, just let them be. Love them. Set boundaries with them. Create space if needed... but do not try to change them. Remember, if you're choosing to keep this person in your life it's on you to maintain boundaries and to accept them fully and completely.

Take action now!

Is there someone in your life who's true self you're choosing not to see? Someone you're hoping will change? Maybe a new friend, client or significant other who's actions are raising red flags? Be honest with yourself around these relationships. When you take an honest look at this person, do you like what you see? Are they really a good fit/match for you? Don't judge them, just see them for who they are and take action towards releasing that relationship from your life.

Stephenie Zamora is the founder of, a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique. Through her Mastery program, she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help men and women build passion-based lives and businesses they love. Click here to access her free Foundations for Unshakable Joy™ video training series and learn the unexpected trick to transforming your life with one single question!

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