Gabrielle Union’s Advice On Owning Up to Past Mistakes and 4 Other Life Lessons

"Not everyone will make up with you, but that has to be OK.”

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gabrielle union
Gabrielle Union is on a major self-improvement journey. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Michael Kors)

Gabrielle Union is dropping some major gems in a few recent interviews. She’s the cover girl for the March issues of both Redbook and Elle Canada and she also sat down to speak with InStyle.

Below are five of the most intriguing details she revealed this week.

She Makes a Vision Board Yearly: “Some of the pictures on my first one were of a haircare line, Kenya, and a Clearblue pregnancy test,” she explained to Redbook. “As goals manifest, I’ve been able to look at my boards and say, ‘Damn, I put in a lot of work and deserve it.’ That’s helped me to stop feeling suspicious of joy. To not sabotage some­thing before I’ve had a chance to do it because I assume I’ll be rejected.

“The only things that have not come to pass are a cosmetics line, Machu Picchu, and a baby,” she continued. “I’ve had the positive stick, but also a number of miscarriages, so maybe I just have to go more specific and show a woman with a human being traveling through her orifices. I’ll put those things back on this year’s board and see what happens.”

She Apologized to Those She Wronged: “I started with those closest to me, but there’s a line of people to get to,” she said. “I was at a Janet Jackson concert and ran into an execu­tive I used to work with and just had to say, ‘I’m so sorry.’ I included in the apology specifics, so they knew I under­stood why I was wrong … Then I lis­tened about the thing that I did, which I didn’t even realize I was doing. I’m not saying this is easy, but it’s led to my being incorporated back into some people’s lives. Not everyone will make up with you, but that has to be OK.”

She Won’t Gossip and She Won’t Listen to Your Negative Talk: “When someone starts gossiping, I’ll be like, ‘I can’t.’ It stops people cold,” she shared. “They’ll ask, ‘What? What can’t you do?’ Then I’m like, ‘Listen to this. Yeah, I can’t. It’s sooo negative. Can we go back to your kid s——-? Because that was funny.’ You have to do it with a wink and a nod, but it shuts people down. I used to just do it if the conversation was centered on a loved one—you’re not talking s­­hit about my friends or my family members in front of me. But now it’s in general, because when you let that into your space, whether or not you’re going to spread it or agree with it, your silence makes you complicit in negative energy, and that comes back.”

She Won’t Go Broke for Anyone or Anything: “From my first job, I’ve functioned like each job is my last. What can I afford if all this goes away?” she told Elle Canada. “So I don’t buy anything unless I can maintain it. Being penniless is way scarier than not having the right car.”

“I don’t believe anyone should put themselves in a financial bind to be something for other people who don’t care about them. Your barometer should be ‘Don’t try to impress people who wouldn’t give you a kidney.’”

She Treats Her Stepsons as Her Own: “You have to constantly reinforce compassion and inclusion, and the beauty of diversity, and the beauty in our differences, while at the same time celebrating our uniqueness,” she told InStyle before revealing what she tells the stepsons she considers her own with husband Dwayne Wade.

“What makes you dope is specifically that you are an amazing Black man,” she said. “You’re not amazing in spite of your blackness, you’re amazing because of your blackness. Even if the guy in the White House says differently, we know he’s crazy, so we have to constantly reinforce the good because it’s not coming from the administration.”

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