Actions Speak Louder
I'm going to cut right to the chase today.
I don't believe in apologies.
You've got to stop accepting apologies without a change of behavior. Some of us let people come back to us with nothing more than words, and that isn't fair to anyone involved. Don't give people another chance in your life just because they've found all the right words—if there's no positive action involved, all you're doing is shooting yourself in the foot.
The more chances you give someone, the less respect they'll have for you. The more chances you give someone, the less they'll try. If you want people to treat you how you deserve to be treated, you've got to stop accepting them back on the basis of apology alone.
People study you—it's in their nature. They're going to study you and learn exactly which bait to throw you, so stop taking the bait! Stop teaching people to mistreat you. Stop letting people take advantage of your loneliness and your loyalty. Stop letting people take advantage of your good heart, because it's up to you to define how people treat you.
Accepting words without action is easy, because people are always going to tell you the right things when you push them away. People are always going to give you these perfect apologies, but those apologies mean nothing without change. Some of you have been with the same people for 13 years, and you've been in the same cycle for ages. It's truly difficult to cut off the people you love, but you've got to love yourself first.
People are going to do everything they can to continue taking advantage of your kindness. They're going to say things like, "I promise I'm going to change." They're going to tell you, "I swear this time will be different." You've got to respond with a deaf ear. Until actions line up with words, you've got to push them away. Until they validate their promises with real change, you've got to keep them away from you.
Don't trust words—trust patterns.
If somebody shows me that their pattern of hurt and disloyalty is broken, I can welcome them back with open arms. Until they show consistently better behavior, though, I'm not letting them back in. Why?
Because the people who will use you time and time again are clever. Some of them know that apologies aren't enough, so they'll give you false changed behavior until you let your guard down. Once they've got you relaxed and they've built all their trust back, they're free to do you wrong again.
You owe it to yourself to view your connections realistically. It's easier said than done, but you have to put what you know above how you feel.
It all starts with you.