A friend of mine owned an upscale boutique. She was happily engaged and her business, which was two years old at the time, was booming. At 33 years old, her vision for her life had come together and she was FINALLY living her dream.
And then it happened.
Her business began to fail. Miserably.
And soon after, her fiance left her. For another woman.
Her devastation grew into full-blown depression and before she knew it she was broke, in debt, and painfully heartbroken.
And so she called me, the "matriarch" of the clique, to sulk, complain, and blame her offenders. The people who had done her wrong. The people who had led to her demise. Blaming everyone except for the person who was really responsible for her downfall. Herself.
Me (after she burst out in the ugly cry): Soooooo is this one of those conversations where you just want me to listen or do you want my advice?
(Side Note: I ask that question of ALL my friends because my unsolicited advice is pretty harsh. Unapologetically.)
Her (under the assumption that I had her back): Yeah, I want your advice. Can you believe he did that to me? I have nothing now because of HIM!
And so I did what I do best. I laid it on her.
Because I'd be less of a friend to do anything else.
Somewhere down the line people came to the conclusion that we were entitled to a great life. Like we're owed it somehow. But the reality is that there is only one person responsible for how the cards fall, and that person is you.
You: But Tiphani, her FIANCE left her. He put a ring on her finger knowing good and damn well she wasn't the only woman he loved. And then she lost her super-successful business. Do you think that she's superwoman? She's the victim!
(Another Side Note: Ummmm... I actually DO know for a FACT that she's a superwoman, and I also know for a FACT that "superwoman" let this happen, hence, it's all her fault. Let me explain.)
Reason #1 Why it Was All Her Fault:
She choose to ignore her intuition.
She called me a few months prior with the suspicion that he was seeing someone else (e.g., hiding his phone and locking it or coming home late or not at all). She had no proof, just a gut feeling that she was no longer the only one. I told her to trust her gut feeling... that it was always right. She agreed and proceeded to ignore me and her own internal warning system.
Reason #2 Why it Was All Her Fault:
Her boutique (one of theeee HOTTEST I'd ever seen) was well designed but horribly managed. It was a beautiful operation built on sand, destined for failure. Money had been mismanaged (by her) and stolen (by her BFF, aka her business partner). She saw those signs and choose to ignore them also.
Her finance leaving and her boutique failing didn't "just happen." There were always signs that tried desperately to steer her in another direction.
People pretend not to notice uncomfortable occurrences in their lives because its much easier to not deal with them. I mean seriously, who wants to break up with the guy who actually proposed and have to start allllll the way over again on the dating scene?
Not too many people.
It was her fault because of her inaction to break off that partnership with her best friend and for not confronting him about his infidelity and trying to find a solution to the matter.
She made the choice to pretend as if her life wasn't crumbling down before her, and that's why she's where she's at right now.
She could have gotten a faithful man and business partner with integrity, but she choose not to because it would require her to change. She wasn't willing to risk being alone, and so she chose the less-risky route, which was to stay and complain about it to anyone who would listen.
So What's the Lesson in All of This?
Don't complain about your problems to other people. No one really cares about them anyway. No one. Instead turn your complaints (to other people) into requests (to the specific person you're complaining about). Work to make the situation better or leave.
Come to terms with the fact that you're not the victim here. You have always had a choice. You stayed in your situation and let it happen without making a demand, making a request, saying no, or leaving.
No one owed you anything. It truly is up to you to create the life you desire.
Tiphani Montgomery is an inspirational speaker and an Essence Magazine bestselling author. Visit her website at www.TiphaniMontgomery.com.
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