In this episode of Red Table Talk, Jada ends a silent, but a decade-long feud with fellow celebrity Gabrielle Union. Gabrielle explains how her personal problems have led to the tension she had with Jada and many others. She also goes over steps she’s taken to improve the relationship she has with herself and other people.
Read this if...
- You have a friend you no longer talk to
- You want to reconcile with them
- You have a tendency want to negatively prejudge people less
Gabrielle Union -Wade is an actress, voice artist, activist, and author. She began her career in the 1990s and hit mainstream success with her breakthrough role in the 2000 film Bring It On. She is married to former NBA player Dwayne Wade.
the distilld lessons (extended)
Our personality won’t always be welcomed. Some people simply will just not like us. Their personalities might not match with ours. When we encounter these people, we’ll be met with disapproval and dismissal no matter how hard we try to befriend them.
On In this episode of Red Table Talk, Jada ends a silent--but decades-long--feud with fellow celebrity Gabrielle Union. Gabrielle explains how her personal problems have led to the tension she had with Jada and many others. She also goes over steps she’s taken to improve the relationship she has with herself and with other people.
Here are the distilld lessons inspired by the “Girls Trippin’” episode of the Red Table Talk podcast::
1. We are accountable for our insecurities.
Gabrielle says she avoided Jada and talked behind her back in the past because she felt threatened by her. Gabrielle was in the middle of turning her career around. She was recovering from cancelled shows and a recent divorce. But suddenly, Jada rose to fame. Gabrielle felt Jada was receiving like the attention that she once received, was now being given to Jada. Her past insecurities came back and Jada became her target of frustration.
Whenever they crossed paths, Gabrielle would consciously act cold and ignore Jada. She’d talk behind Jada’s back to her friends and other celebrities. Whenever they crossed paths, Gabrielle would consciously act cold and ignore Jada. She’d take behind Jada’s back to her friends, and to other celebrities in her social group.
The industry eventually picked up on the rumors and the moments of tension, magnifying the minor and private feud. Time passed, rumors spread, and Gabriella and Jada ignored each other for 17 years.
That’s almost two decades wasted which proves the power of our insecurities. We burn bridges with anyone that reminds us of what we dislike about ourselves. We’re willing to give up what otherwise could be long-lasting relationships. We sometimes dislike someone because they remind us of what we don’t like about ourselves. As long as we willfully ignore our insecurities, they’ll continue to prevent us from opening up and connecting to others.
Insecurities can also lead to low self-esteem, social anxiety, and depression. According to the book, Self-Esteem Research, Theory, and Practice: Toward a Positive Psychology of Self-Esteem, we turn to self-neglect when we don’t appreciate our value. This could even compromise our mental health.
Our insecurities are our responsibility, and no one else’s. We create external tension with others and put pressure on our mental health when we don’t address our internal conflict. We have to be mindful of our thoughts and our responses. We also have to make sure that they’re rooted in a place of security and positivity. When we do this, we improve our well-being and can stop prevent unnecessary feuds, by preventing them in the first place.
2. Solitude is a good thing.
Gabrielle recommends silence and self-awareness as tools to address internal conflicts. She says that taking time for her own just to breathe and meditate, allowed her to become more mindful.
This is true for all of us. We can find out more about ourselves when we pause every now and then. This allows us to have the time and space to reflect on what we want and how we are. Our internal dialogue can help us self-regulate and re-prioritize our goals as necessary. We even increase our concentration and improve our productivity.
In a study published in the Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, researchers stressed that solitude enhances our creativity and sense of freedom. When we reconnect with ourselves, we can focus more on what we’re good at instead of being limited by the standards set by others.
Solitude and meditation also cultivate mindfulness. It’s a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.
Through mindfulness, we gain better control of our thoughts and our actions. We also become less prone to stress, depression, and anxiety according to a study published in the Journal of Holistic Healthcare.
The more time we spend on ourselves, the less time we worry about other people. We can calm our inner voice when we give ourselves the care and attention we need. When we’re secure and comfortable with who we are, we don’t bother with how people see us. In turn, we don’t look at them with judging eyes. When we reconnect with ourselves, we make stronger ties can connect better with other people.
3. The more we build ourselves up, the less we tear others down.
Gabrielle recalls the time she complained about Jada and other celebrities to her personal trainer. She was asked a simple question as a response. “Did tearing them down get you the job you wanted? Did your house get bigger? Did your bank account grow?” It did not. That’s when Gabrielle realized her wrongdoing; she was so focused on bringing other people down that she wasted time she could’ve used to build herself up.
Jada says that she relates to Gabrielle’s story. She claims that every celebrity’s been there. Someone new comes along, and they pose a threat to threaten others in the industry. The initial response from most is to diminish the newcomers’ career, so that they maintain a better, bigger image by comparison.
The dynamics in the acting industry apply to any area of life. When we look at others who are engaged in similar activities or careers, we tend to compare. We start to ask ourselves, “Are they more successful? More popular? More talented?”
This often leads to a subconscious one-sided competition. When they fail, we feel like we’ve succeeded. When they improve, we feel like we’ve degraded. We end up feeling joy from the problems of other people. We also blame them if we feel unaccomplished. This is because we needlessly measure our journey against theirs.
This mindset is both unhealthy and flawed. The downfall of others is not our triumph. Conversely, their successes are not our failures. Everyone is dealing with their own challenges. What others are going through has nothing to do with us.
According to a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, comparing ourselves weakens our motivation to complete the goals we’ve set. We focus on others so much we lose sight of ourselves. When we realize that we don’t have to bring others down to build ourselves up, we can stop comparing and start connecting.
4. The people we surround ourselves with matters.
Gabrielle also attributes her past behavior to her social circle. Her friends would talk negatively about other people, and would delight in seeing others struggle. This validated her negative and judgmental behavior and enabled her to continue doing it. It got to a point where these people displayed the same negativity at Gabrielle, when she found own success and happiness.
She’s since distanced herself from these people, and now enjoys the company of a kinder community. Gabrielle says that the MeToo Movement—a movement against sexual abuse and harassment—has been key to her newfound positivity.
She recalls the time she was sexually assaulted at gunpoint when she was 19 years old. She’s carried the emotional pain that came with her the attack, but she never felt heard when she’d share this with her old group of friends never empathized with her. But the MeToo community has helped her work through her pain and deal with her insecurities. They, by listening listened to her and giving gave her a platform where she can help others who have gone through similar experiences.
This Gabrielle’s experience proves goes to show much the people we surround ourselves with matters. Energy is contagious, be it positive or negative. A 2008 study found that our happiness depends on the happiness of people we connect with. They impact how we think and behave. They inspire us to be driven and to achieve our goals. When we surround ourselves with people who emanate optimism, we can help and connect with others instead of judging and bringing them down.
We’ll meet people that just rub us the wrong way. It doesn’t really have anything to do with them, but more to do with our perceptions and influences. When we are not liked, there’s little to nothing we can do about it. Haters are going to hate, as modern wisdom dictates. The best we can do is live authentically and find others who appreciate us for who we are.
For a shorter conversation, the distilld lessons summary are here.