Many years ago, while speaking with my mother about a relationship I can no longer put a name to, I remember saying, “It’s a communication problem!” To which my mother responded, “It’s almost always a communication problem.” At one point, Jada viewed her situation with Will was minuscules when compared to the issues we’re dealing with in the world today. She started her next sentence with, “The idea of not communicating, not talking about it . . .” It was this incomplete thought that caught my attention. Immediately, I completed the sentence in my mind. “The idea of not communicating, not talking about it … was not an option.”
Communication is Key
Yes, this specific situation may seem minuscule. However, all sorts of situations, challenging and otherwise, happen in our lives and our relationships daily. How can we expect to communicate effectively with strangers who hold philosophically opposing viewpoints, if we can’t communicate effectively with those we love?
Our respective lives don’t happen in vacuums. No matter how significant or notable our contributions to society may be, we still must contend with personal issues at home. And while we may consider them insignificant compared to social issues, it does us good to remember that termites can take a house down. We don’t have to sweat the small stuff. We do need to deal with it.
Chasing Feeling Good
My second insight came from Jada’s, “I just wanted to feel good.” Who hasn’t experienced getting caught up in something or with someone only because it felt good? It could have been a relationship, a job, unfortunately for some, it could be a substance. If I’m honest, I’ve gotten myself into an entanglement or two based on feelings rather than thinking clearly. Feeling good and not apologizing for it. Feeling good and knowing there was no long-term commitment being attached to it.
I have stopped judging myself, most days (lol). At some point, we realize we can learn from our experiences and put the pieces of our lives in their place, especially when that place is behind us. In this space, you realize, to sustain true happiness, it has to be an inside job. Otherwise, you will forever be tempted to chase external stimuli trying to experience internal joy. The big problem with that is you risk being controlled by external forces over and over and over again. Taking responsibility is empowering because it’s often the only way we give ourselves permission to make substantial and lasting changes.
Define for Yourself
Finally, there was a moment when Will referred to Jada’s experience as a transgression. Jada’s response was, “I actually don’t look at it as a transgression at all.” Some may wish Jada had shown remorse, guilt, or embarrassment. Instead, she took ownership and empowered herself by defining her situation herself.
In the past, I’ve put myself under distress unnecessarily when I took on someone else’s definition of my situation. I lived the emotion of someone else’s perception, and it served me no useful purpose. Why do we do that? Why do we give others so much power in our lives? Jada’s insistence that she be the one to define what her situation represented in her life -was critical to her self-empowerment. It is a super-power that each of us has within.
Dr. Lisa Summerour is a speaker, personal and professional life coach, workshop facilitator, DIY enthusiast, and author of the What Went Well? Journal. The journal is designed to empower individuals by engaging them, each day, to write down what has gone well, and identify what caused the good to occur. The adult version also includes 12 months of life engaging enhancing activities.