lady with tool beltWhile watching an episode (accidentally) of Oprah’s Life Class, I came across an interview that she was holding with actress Gabrielle Union.  In the piece, Gabrielle was speaking about how, in her past, she was a true-life mean girl.  She would be so jealous of other women in the business, that she’d spread rumors, speak ill of them, just tear them down…for no reason at all…well, but for that thing called the green-eyed monster (and you all know how much I detest her).  It wasn’t the part about her jealousy that struck a chord in me, it was the moment she said a friend convinced her that it was time that she “worked on herself.”  Now, c’mon, if someone is telling us that we should work on ourselves, then they must be noticing some pret–ty poor behavior coming from us.

One day, in the midst of tearing another woman down, Gabrielle says that her “friend” walks over, and pulls her aside (from her audience).  The questions the friend asked, caused Gabrielle to take a hard look at herself. “What did you just gain by tearing that woman down?” the friend asked.  “Did your house get any bigger?  Are you driving a better car all of a sudden?  Did money magically just fall into your pockets out of nowhere?” the friend went on.  Gabrielle responded, “No.”  It was at that moment she said, that she vowed to change herself, to become a better person; one who would be interested in lifting people up and not happy to tear them down.  She admitted to reveling in hearing negative stories about others.  It pleased her.  But, she didn’t want that feeling anymore.  She said, she wanted her walk to match her talk.

I often speak on support.  “Support of others before ourselves,” is often my mantra.  I enjoy lifting people up and I’ve never had any interest in tearing anyone down.  It’s not who I am.  I have always wanted my talk to mirror my walk.  I have done a decent job of that, but you know what, we all can stand to do a little more work on ourselves.  Maybe not in the same department as Gabrielle Union, but there are some of you who fall right into her old category.  Go on, this is the time to admit it.  Come clean.  Gabrielle did.  In the midst of accepting an award, she stood on a stage and told the world how she had been “pretending” for so long. She hadn’t been a nice person to others, and she admitted it.  She came clean and spoke her truths.  But, she was only able to do this AFTER SHE DID HER WORK ON HERSELF.

I write this blog today to ask you all to join me in doing the work on ourselves.  As I mentioned above, there’s always room for us to improve.  We spend tons of time getting better at our favorite sport, or trying to improve ourselves for that promotion we want, so why not work just as hard to improve US on the inside for us?  We just need to stand in a really clean mirror and take a hard look at ourselves.  What is that thing that you want to change about you?  What is that thing that you don’t like about you?  And, what is that thing that you wished wasn’t apart of you?  And I don’t mean anything physical.

I’ll start this party, I have no problem with that.  The one thing I want to change about me is my harshness (at times).  I like to say that God gave me the gift of “seeing” people for who they truly are.  That means, I believe what people show me, and not so much what they tell me.  Ever heard this phrase:  “When someone shows you who they are, believe them”? I have also said before that God didn’t give me much patience, but what I have learned is this… God doesn’t give us patience, he gives us OPPORTUNITIES to be patient.  It’s up to us whether or not we accept those opportunities.

I’m closing now, but I have left a pretty big challenge for you all.  Notice I didn’t say “for some of you,”  I said ALL, because we all have something that we need to work on.  Go stand in your mirror, or go sit on your floor with your eyes closed, and take a really good look inside.  What is that “thing?”  Are you a compulsive liar?  Are you too critical of others?  Do you find it hard to be honest about anything? (I mean, is your name really Susan?)  Do you yell at your kids too much?  Are you a cheater?  Do you berate your significant other publicly?  Whatever it is, I feel confident that you want it gone and you will work hard to make it so.  Put on your toolbelts and let’s do the work, people.  Our minds are made up!  I can just feel it!

I’d like to hear from you because your thing just might be someone else’s thing that they are too afraid, or too ashamed to admit.  You can help them come clean.  Go on, start that party below in the comments section.

Make it a great day, people…or not.  The choice is all yours!

{Rave Reviews Book Club}



  1. myrddinsheir

    I wanted to leave a comment, but it turned into a blog I would not have written, had I not read this one first… http://myrddinsheir.com/blog/?p=124


  2. Impatience is something I need to work on, especially when my wife is shopping. She reads every label, decides on things then takes them back asks my opinion then ignores it. I dislike shopping to begin with I have decided to always have a book with me for those moments when I feel impatience creeping in.


  3. Maintaining confidence is a bit of bear for me. It comes and goes like like the tides. When I’m struggling, I tend to be more critical of others. On the flip side, when I’m confident in myself and of my work, I am much more likely to reach out to others and be the compassionate person I really am. The key is being grateful everyday, even for the little things.


  4. My big thing is empathy. I don’t think I used to empathize enough, especially not with my kids. They would say, “I don’t like the food” and I would go, “It’s delicious, what’s there not to like?”. Or they would go out without a jacket and say, “I am not cold” and I would intervene, “You must be. Just put a jacket on!” And so on. Over the past few years, I have been trying to listen more and be better at acknowledging others’ feelings. Starting with my kids, I changed my language, my interactions, and overall, my parenting style for the better (I think!!). I find empathy to be so powerful, yet so lacking in the world in general. It has become my number one thing to teach to my children – and to myself as I am still very much a work in progress…


  5. Wow. I got your tweet and clicked the link to figure out what this was … and was totally blown away. I was actually just talking to myself about this yesterday. I’m currently working nights and living in a foreign country without any real friends and no family. So I tend to be depressed and lonely. And I was just telling myself how terrible it was to take all these gifts and leave them in a lonely apartment in Ecuador and never do anything fun.
    So, you’re right. We choose our own outlook on life. Let’s make the best of it.


  6. What a wonderful posts, Nonnie! I’m certainly going to think long and hard about improving myself for the better. xxx


  7. Thanks for the mirror, Nonnie. Mine’s telling me two important things I need to work on. 1. Be a better listener when it comes to my immediate family members. 2) Put on the love ’em gloves and take off those grubby old judge ’em gloves. Just jotted these down on my TO DO list in my journal for the coming week. Again, thanks! 🙂


    • Bette, isn’t it awesome when we can see our TRUE selves? I always say to folks: “I know me better than anyone else so if you want to know something about me, ask me.” And I own my truths, whether good or bad. I OWN IT ALL!


  8. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    I got a thing about wasting time too Joy. People don’t realize it but time is money too. I talk about it in my book, briefly. Anyway, Nonnie, the green eyed monster of jealousy can be damaging and devastating to the recipient of all that anger. I have experienced it personally in my so-called family and its terrible. Jealousy is a sin and it needs to be eradicated. It has no place in a civilized society. But unfortunately its everywhere. My vice may be trying to make the world a better place. This is why I get so involved in my community, in politics and in my church. I strive to be the best at whatever I am asked to do because that’s the way I was taught. I do need to work on my temper which I can lose if I hear about another killing somewhere in the world, another abused child or any societal ills. I have to work on not letting it bother me so much.


  9. PHS

    Reblogged this on Archer's Aim and commented:
    Nonnie, I’m right there with you on impatience – re-blogging on Archer’s Aim!


  10. Mine is time Nonnie, I hate wasting it, and I don’t like people wasting it for me. If someone tells me to meet him at a certain time, I will be there five minutes to the time to make sure that at the exact time, I will be walking into that appointment.
    Where I come from, there is something known as the ‘African Time.” You have a book lunch, for instance, and your invited guests troop in, one hour and two hours late. Maybe you hired the hall for two hours. How do you deal with that? It happened to me, and my book lunch went flop!
    I don’t know how we can heal this. I am still very time conscious. I really will not like to change. I just hope that people will respect time more.


  11. I guess you have said it for me. My sons used to say “Dad tells it like it is” and I used to be proud of the fact that I didn’t beat about the bush. A friend has since pointed out the downside of that particular trait and I have begun to take the feelings of others into account.


    • Roger, that about me will never change i’m sure, and honestly, I like me just that way. I think there are so many people living these “pretend” lives, that they don’t even know what their real truths are. I usually begin my sentences with: “Now, I’m not trying to hurt you, but I must speak my truth.” And hey, who could get upset about “THE TRUTH?” Tell me the truth any day!


  12. Great post, Nonnie. My goal with every passing day is to learn something new and become a better person than I was the day before. One thing I really need to work on is losing my temper too quickly with people who don’t work on the same timeline as me….I have little tolerance for procrastination and NO tolerance for laziness. But I am realizing, the older I get, that you have to pretty much meet people where THEY are in their lives and accept them for what role they play in YOUR life. You can’t make people have ambition. Sad, and hard to accept, but true. Thanks for sharing!


    • LOL because you and Rebecca sent your comments at the same time and your comments so mirrored each other that it was funny. At one point, I had to stop to ensure the comments were from two different people. I’m with you ladies. Thanks for stopping by!


  13. Mine used to be that I expected everyone else to work as hard as I did, giving 200 percent. But as I’ve aged, I’ve mellowed and no longer concern myself with the productivity of others. I try only to do the best that I can do. If other slack, that is their choice and they can pay the consequences or not. I’ve found that people now are more willing to approach me, because I myself am not so intent on whatever task I have set out to do. I do find myself falling back into that old habit from time to time when I am working on something important, however, and have to remind myself that the people involved are as important as the project. This helps me get past any irritation or impatience I may feel raising its ugly head.


  14. Very timely post. I think we all could get out the self-work tools and take a couple swipes at those items which we know we don’t like. Thanks


  15. Gee, Nonnie, you stole my thunder! I really dislike how impatient I get at times when my wife, who has a hearing impairment, asks me to repeat something. That is hurtful to her, and it is hurtful to me. I need to get my tool belt on, and roll my sleeves up as well. Thanks for the pearls of wisdom, Nonnie – another great post!


    • John, you know it’s a blessing that we realize “our ugly.” And so since you KNOW that you’re doing it, you have no excuse to work every day, doing your work every day to rectify that. #ShameOnYou….(but I meant that in the most loving of ways)…LOL


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