Unveiling True Colors: Trusting People’s Actions to Reveal Their Authenticity

Unveiling True Colors: Trusting People's Actions to Reveal Their Authenticity

When it comes to understanding people, one of the most powerful pieces of advice is a simple phrase: “When people show you who they are, believe them.” This statement, often attributed to Maya Angelou, suggests that we should trust people’s actions over their words to reveal their true character. This article will delve into the importance of this concept and how it can help us navigate our relationships more effectively.

Why Should We Trust Actions Over Words?

Actions speak louder than words. This is a common saying, but it holds a lot of truth. People can say anything they want, but their actions will always reveal their true intentions and feelings. For instance, a person might say they care about you, but if their actions don’t align with their words, it’s a clear sign that they might not be as genuine as they claim.

According to a study published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, nonverbal cues, which are a form of action, are 12.5 times more powerful than verbal cues in conveying meaning. This statistic underscores the importance of paying attention to what people do, not just what they say.

How Can We Apply This Concept in Our Lives?

Applying the principle of “when people show you who they are, believe them” can be beneficial in various aspects of our lives, including personal relationships, professional settings, and even in our interactions with public figures. Here are a few ways to apply this concept:

  • Personal Relationships: If someone consistently shows you kindness and respect, it’s safe to say they genuinely care about you. On the other hand, if someone repeatedly hurts you or disrespects you, it’s a clear sign that they don’t value your feelings or well-being.
  • Professional Settings: In the workplace, actions can reveal a lot about a person’s work ethic and character. For example, if a colleague consistently delivers high-quality work and meets deadlines, it shows they are reliable and committed. Conversely, if someone is always late or fails to fulfill their responsibilities, it indicates a lack of professionalism.
  • Public Figures: When it comes to public figures, their actions can reveal a lot about their values and integrity. For instance, if a politician promises to fight for certain issues but fails to take any action, it shows a lack of commitment to their promises.

What Are the Benefits of Trusting Actions Over Words?

Trusting actions over words can lead to healthier relationships and better decision-making. Here are some benefits:

  • Improved Relationships: By focusing on actions, you can better understand the people around you and build stronger, more authentic relationships.
  • Better Decision-Making: Actions provide clear evidence of a person’s character and intentions, which can help you make more informed decisions about who to trust and how to interact with them.
  • Reduced Misunderstandings: Words can often be ambiguous or misleading, but actions are usually clear and straightforward. By focusing on actions, you can reduce misunderstandings and miscommunications.


In conclusion, the phrase “when people show you who they are, believe them” is a powerful tool for understanding people’s true colors. By focusing on actions rather than words, we can gain a clearer understanding of people’s authenticity, leading to healthier relationships and better decision-making. So, the next time someone’s actions contradict their words, remember to trust what you see, not what you hear.

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