One summer evening when I was 17, I shared a small tidbit of a friend’s story in a quick without-thinking kind of way with the boyfriend I had at the time. My boyfriend shared the information and it turned out to be a huge betrayal to my friend, which resulted in drama and pain throughout that summer. Of course that was not my intention, but my lack of integrity, at the time, was a huge lesson for me. Ever since, I take the request “Please don’t say anything.” very seriously.
Recently, a dear friend shared with me a lesson from Life Coach Mary Morrissey that states – when we see a rattlesnake, we don’t get upset with the rattlesnake for being a rattlesnake, we know the rattlesnake can bite us, so we stay away from the rattlesnake. It is the same with people. When someone tells or shows us they are not trustworthy (they can bite us), why do we disregard this intuitive warning and trudge forward through the grass with the rattlesnake by our side? This may not be a lesson for us all, but it has certainly been a life lesson for me since that summer.
What I have learned is that the people who I would label as “rattlesnakes” in my life had always shown/told me many times who they chose to be by their words and especially by their actions – what they did and didn’t do. It was my own self-judgement and/or beliefs in being a “good” person that would paint my perception of what they said or did.
Mary Morrissey provides an example of a friend who shares information that a friend shared with them to another friend. The friend says to “Oh please don’t say anything, so and so told me not to tell anyone, but I know you won’t say anything, blah, blah, blah.”
In this exchange, the fact is this friend is showing you that she is not trustworthy. In being on the receiving end of the conversation many times, I know for myself, in the past, I did not think that my friend was not trustworthy. I perceived the sharing that my friend was doing was because I was trustworthy and she had just needed to share her own feelings about what the other friend confided in her. I was putting my beliefs and perceptions on how I saw the world onto my friend, as well as the fact that it felt good to be trusted and needed. It didn’t occur to me that my friend was actually breaking the other friend’s confidence and trust.
I had a rattlesnake in my garden and because I didn’t listen to the intuitive nudge, I kept the rattlesnake too close for comfort UNTIL this friend got offended when she found out that I kept a mutual friend’s confidence.
Her response to me was “I can’t believe you hid that from me? I now see a side to you that I didn’t know you had”.
I was surprised by her reaction and I said, “What … Trustworthiness? It was not my story to tell and the fact someone asked me not to say something, and I didn’t? Plus I was asked not to say anything as she was going to tell you personally, and I respected her wishes.”
My friend took it as a personal insult and couldn’t understand my point of view. She questioned my integrity and began to mistrust me.
What I find interesting is that this friend didn’t question her own beliefs surrounding loyalty and integrity. She actually felt it was okay to share someone else’s story, even when told in confidence. She took offense to me not breaking another friend’s trust. Really? She didn’t see the value in my integrity or trust. I guess, rattlesnakes never do. The fact is that my friend was showing me that she was not trustworthy. HUGE RED FLAG! Therefore, shortly after this exchange I cleared this Rattlesnake from my garden. Now, I always trust the intuitive nudge when I feel the rattling of others.
This summer might be the perfect time to clear out the Rattlesnakes in your garden, or could it be that you are a Rattlesnake in someone else’s garden? Hmmm… happy exploring.
- Angela Catenaro McNeill