As a child, I was taught that not everyone is as they appear. This was confusing and took me many years to really understand. I have been badly hurt, causing considerable pain, like many of us, by being let down as a result of seeing people as we wanted to see them, which was not a reality though.
My grandmother used to often refer to some people being ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ and I recognise now very clearly what she was really speaking about. I get caught often, as I tend to see the good and potential in people and not consider that they may only have themselves in mind to get or achieve what they want.
When we see potential we must recognise that many people do not see it in themselves. Often they are unable to reach it, as they sabotage from achieving what could have been. These people often have either a fear of failure or a fear of success. This for them can be crippling. It keeps them stuck and unable to move forward, to be who they really have the ability to be! They become takers and not givers as they only see their goal and not the goals of others.
This is a quote from the New Testament, and shows that we need to be careful and observe as best we can, to see who is deserving of our trust and loyalty, who are false prophets and who are not!
For someone as optimistic as me, this can be a hard lesson!
I was taught never to judge someone by ‘where they came from’, ‘what they did’ and ‘who they were’ until there was a reason to do the judging. In life, we are all too quick to make a judgment on another without considering their story, and the actual facts of why they do what they do. We need to look into their hearts to discover the truth of who they really are, not who they appear to be.
I often talk about the givers of the world, not the takers when I am presenting and writing. This is a subject that I speak about often in regards to relationship building in business. I was taught that you had to give firstly and then you would receive tenfold. I have proved this in my own life many times over.
As a natural giver this was learned by the great examples I had around me as a child. My grandparents and parents were real givers, and renowned for what they put into their communities, to individuals as well as into people’s lives whom they had never met. They all had ‘very big hearts’ and never allowed the ‘takers’ to offend or take advantage.
I do find in the business world though that this ‘wanting’ before ‘giving’ is becoming more pronounced, or maybe I am seeing it clearer now.
There are ways you can detect a ’wolf in sheep’s clothing’ if you know what to look for initially.
To really start to see people for themselves is to watch them closely in how they interact with others. It is what they DO that tells the story, not what they SAY!
If you are a true ‘giver’ observe other true givers and the way they interact. You can learn to ‘spot’ the deceivers easily when you have learned how to watch! It is a process that takes the time to learn but is learnable!
By learning to watch, one becomes aware of those who ‘seem’ to do the right things and say the right words, but when you sit back and reflect you will note that they only do when there is something there for them. Being able to have the maturity to discern between the givers and the takers is necessary for our own development and growth.
Usually, they will be telling you that they are a ‘giver’ and that ‘giving back’ is the only thing they want to do! Note who else is telling you that! It is easy for a non-givers to convince you they are until you watch and recognise that they do nothing without something coming back to them. This is not the hallmark of a ‘real giver’.
Don’t be naïve, as I have been many times in my life. Never assume everyone is a giver, as this can lead to trouble in the long run. When we recognise that we have been taken by the ‘ravenous wolves’, who were there only to take what they did not deserve or earn, then, and only then, will we see the full picture.
I remember often the saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. This is worth remembering. There are people in my life that I am well aware that some of my values conflict, but I keep them close, so that I can watch, learn and observe, unknown to them!
You may ask how you can tell the difference. The wolf personality is an expert at talking the talk. Observe the behaviour and you will note that they have a certain aggression about them. The saying ‘the sweetest tongue often has the sharpest tooth’ will show them out eventually.
Here are three things to be aware of when observing:
- Wolves love the power, rather than the power of love. They are takers rather than givers. They may tell you that they are a giver but through reflection, you can see that they really are a ‘lone wolf’. They usually refuse accountability and resist submission as they put themselves into the place at the highest point of reference. They will always be ‘the boss’ and hold tightly to that position. They have the ability to win others over with their charm as they will tend to use, possess, exploit and control others rather than love them. They are usually very charming and charismatic. Their behaviour is often narcissistic as they will use the world to get what they want, no matter the consequence to another.
- Winning and being right are their highest values. They may speak and look like sheep, but they really bite like wolves. To appear less aggressive they will tend to be underhanded and cunning. They will pretend to be like sheep as they do not want to be seen as wolves. They are good deceivers and will do whatever to achieve their aim.
- I have found that wolves are experts at deceit. Sometimes they are not even aware, from my experience, at how deceitful they are. They have the ability to pretend and care, but only if what they want is there for them. The people who have been closest to them can detect it as they have been bitten repeatedly over time. These people eventually recognise it and move away, causing much pain to the wolf, as they tend not to recognise why.
Often when confronted, the wolf will attack, deflect or blame. They tend to be playing the victim/blame game. They really do not want your help, they have an agenda to keep you where they want and need you to give them credibility. It appears not to be in their nature to be humble, reflective or willing to listen to what you say to them.
A wolf has the ability to maintain their cover and get away with their behaviour which can be difficult for the sheep to understand until they themselves have been harmed.
Remember, a wolf is a predator and kills the sheep as he has sharper teeth and stronger jaws.
It is important also to remember that verbal abuse is very real and when done often enough can be lethal to the person who has been hurt by it.
Open your eyes and see who the givers and takers are in your world. Eventually, the takers will betray themselves as they are observed and shown to be who they really are.
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