As I sat in self-reflection two months after my birthday, at the height of summer, my 37th sun trip has landed me at the conjunction of my two greatest assets—my power and my joy.
Today, I understand the impact of my ‘yes’, my ‘no’, and my ‘no comment,’ and I have aligned that with the blessing of my gratitude, my contentment, and my resolve.
This alignment is yet another superpower of mine—I discover so many about myself as I intentionally live my life. Like any event in life, this alignment comes with its given blessings and burdens, but the blessings create more joy than the burdens produce frustration, so I am at peace with it.
I am what some could call a “Relationship Person.” I relish creating, establishing, and collaborating with others to make life more enjoyable and bearable. No, it’s not what you think. When people hear the term ‘relationship person’—much like ‘people person’ (which I am not)—they quickly download only positive, desirable feelings. I’d caution you to not lean too far to one side and leave space for the other, because balance. My position, even as a girl, was this: I’d love to have you, but I don’t need you; and (my personal favorite): I love you, but I love me more!
I struggled to have “that connection” in my formative years and in that friction, I developed one of my core principles arriving at my teenage years: I don’t want anyone who does not want me.” This idea further cemented by my mother’s advice for me to “go where you are celebrated, not tolerated, Joyice.”
As a high school student, I soared with relationship-making. I still hold many of those connections and friendships even today—see, a Relationship Person indeed. How you behave to begin a relationship isn’t exactly the same blueprint to maintain one, though this is not to be confused with “how you got it is what you do to keep it”. I do believe in that one—well, to an extent. To begin a friendship/relationship is more about being your authentic and best self, and while you do keep that energy, maintaining a friendship/relationship requires that you consider and care for the other person while you process through the mirror they hold that singularly reflects your own cake, icing, and crumbs with its blind spots and unknowns.
At some intersection of “living your best life” and “doing life with others”, I have learned the value of my boundaries that honors my agency and independence (resulting in my power) and the value of my standards that protects my peace (resulting in my joy).
My power and my joy.
Most of my former friendships/relationships are due to the audacity or aftermath of me saying no. I must interject here and confess that there are a few where the ball dropped on my part, or some wild situation happened that simply could not be recovered. I have now lived long enough to fully understand the saying: Some things just can’t be fixed. So, we don’t. Or rather, I didn’t. However, bear with me, as I want to address the majority.
I have prepared myself for the potential war that may ensue and the loss I would naturally inherit when I insert my ‘no.’ Even with expectation and preparation, each occurrence is different from all others and requires its own processing.
In this space, I have learned how to not just expect woes but also how to invite joy! For that reason, the moment anything or anyone infringes upon my power or threatens my joy, I choose myself and move on. This is not to say I am not loyal through wins and woes, because I am. In fact, I have often been called “loyal to a fault” by others. Last year, my therapist even told me, “Sometimes, you keep your word to your own detriment even when the other person isn’t holding up to their end of the deal with it. Why?” Ouch, Dr. B. I guess I’m sitting here with you to unpack that baggage for the answer. Fast forward, I did figure it out.
Earlier, I mentioned that the majority of my high school friendships remain intact today. So, please do not hear what I am not saying. I thrive well with relationship-making and part of that success, safety, and sustainability is born in my friends’ commitments to not do the very things that would cause me to walk—and ninety percent of the time they do not. But, there has been that ten percent who have tried me (or will)—thinking it will be different with them or who decided to discard the very principles and actions I warned against to transgress me. Then, I walk. And that’s on my power and my joy.
If I loss you, my apologies. If you loss me, too bad for you. If you’re still with me, thank you. If you have yet to know me, you’re in for a treat. I’m so dope at 37 being my powerful, joyful self.
What are your greatest personal assets in your relationship with yourself or others? How do you safeguard while relationship-making or relationship-keeping? I’d love to hear your thoughts and evolution.
We grow as we go®️,