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Lessons from Sandra Bullock

Lessons from Sandra Bullock

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss lessons that can be gleaned from Sandra Bullock.

First a quick update:

“Color energy portraits”
Joy DiMenna, a highly talented and international artist, has created a new style of painting and art form including energetic portraits of pure color and shapes. Joy has painted a portrait of me which is featured in her new book In Loving Color. In the book, Joy shares with you the messages of Color in stunning paintings, elegant prose, and playful yet profound verse, igniting your Soul, healing your cells, and loving you into your mission. Joy is a friend whom I helped to recapture her love for art her true calling; her newest creation is spectacular.

“Mike Tyson – clarification”
Some readers wrote to me regarding last week’s Success Newsletter: Overcoming yourself. Accordingly, I wish to clarify that I am not suggesting that Mike Tyson – a convicted rapist – be a role model but rather that we recognize that Mike Tyson was beaten and bullied as child and he overcame that to become a great boxer, and, that he is still trying to overcome his deep seated anger as well as his anguish and pain over the tragic death of his four-year-old daughter. Read the article here about Mike Tyson, John Edward Walsh and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Now, let’s talk about lessons from Sandra Bullock.

World famous actress, Sandra Bullock is recognized as Hollywood and America’s sweetheart. Most of the characters she has portrayed on screen tend to have similar characteristics – highly likeable, vulnerable and tough yet tender and compassionate; funny, self-deprecating, brave, feminine yet not afraid to get her hands dirty and work hard; fighting for the underdog and her principles, and maintaining integrity. In almost all of the characters Sandra Bullock has played, she is often seen as the sweet girl-next-door-type.

Why is this relevant?

It is these characters that have endeared Sandra Bullock to so many fans; and these qualities sum up most people’s perceptions of her in real life. And yes, in many ways, Sandra Bullock’s on screen characters reflect her off screen persona.

Accordingly, many people were shocked and angered to learn about the betrayal and multiple affairs of her husband Jesse James. The pain and betrayal extends even deeper when considering that it was Sandra Bullock who was gushing to Barbara Walters in a TV interview that her husband, Jesse, had her back and that it was Sandra who fought hard alongside her husband to win custody of his children from his ex-wife – a former adult actress.

How could such a sweetheart and seemingly loving woman marry such a man that would betray, humiliate and deceive his wife and on such a large scale? How could such a successful actress and businesswoman have made such a grave error in judgment? (Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “The Blind Side” and also owns a highly successful production company, a restaurant, bakery and floral shop.)

And herein lays the one of the key lessons from Sandra Bullock’s painful experience. Sandra made the same mistake that almost every woman makes.

Sandra Bullock fell in love with Jesse James’ potential; his potential as a man and as a husband. While she might have been initially attracted to his wild and bad boy ways, ultimately, knowingly or unknowingly, Sandra Bullock was trying to tame, nurture and develop Jesse James. She was trying to change him.

And this seems to be a recurring pattern and trait amongst women: They fall in love with a man hoping he will change, expecting him to change and even trying to change him; devoting precious time and energy rescuing, reforming or transforming him to reach his potential.

But men do not want to change and they resist change. And when a man finally decides to change it is often too late – she has already begun divorce proceedings or has lost the love and given up on him and the relationship.

Thus, the first lesson from Sandra Bullock’s experience is summed up by something I wrote in my newsletter “Why don’t you change?” in October 29, 2008:

“So, here is my controversial advice:

Women: Stop trying to mother the man by nurturing him to what you want him to be; stop looking at a man and saying “Wow, he would look so good in those pants; I’ll buy them for him and make him wear them.” Love the man for what he is now and not what you think he might one day be, for he may choose to never be that.

Men: Expect that your woman will change and evolve. Don’t expect her to wear the same dress, hairstyle and have the same body that she did when you first met her ten years ago. Embrace her change and embrace change for yourself. Be open to learning from her.”

Yes, while men do not want to change they also expect that their woman will not change and are shocked to learn that she has changed – both internally and externally – physically, mentally and emotionally. Men, who are often like boys, expect and hope that the woman will even look the same – forever.

But could it be that another reason that Sandra Bullock’s marriage turned so sour is because they are so different; don’t opposites attract? Can’t opposites complement each other?

And herein lays the second key lesson:

Opposites in temperament and character attract and can balance each other but, opposites in morals, values and principals spell disaster and doom for any relationship – personal, romantic or business.

Sandra Bullock may be the shy, quiet type and Jesse James may be the loud, extrovert type; and that would work. But their morals and values blatantly clash.

Jesse James stayed true to his tribe; he maintained integrity to who he is. He returned to the world where he felt most comfortable – a world of tattooed adult actresses and performers – a world of people who didn’t care about loyalty, fidelity or commitment – people with whom he shared the same values – his tribe.

My controversial advice here:

When entering a relationship or contract of any kind, ensure that both parties share the same morals, values and principles.

Admittedly, Sandra Bullock claimed that she and husband Jesse James shared the same vision and she mistakenly thought they were not that different but despite his words, his underlying values & customs and her values and customs were vastly too different. Jesse James was still attracted to the world of his past and he could not let go because he could not let go of his old values.

And yes, Sandra was very wrong – Jesse and Sandra were very different. Sandra prized and appreciated family, her work, her happiness, her husband and her children, but Jesse James didn’t prize any of that. Above all, he appreciated self-gratification without thought of consequence.

And this leads to the third lesson from Sandra Bullock’s experience: responsibility and accountability.

When it became public, Jesse James admitted that he had done wrong and he apologized, asked for forgiveness for the pain and embarrassment he caused and even went as far as saying “There is only one person to blame for this whole situation, and that is me.”

And so with those inspiring words, it was expected that Jesse James might accept real responsibility for his actions but instead he cried the same thing that Tiger Woods and Steve Phillips did when they engaged in betrayal, deceit, infidelity and entitlement – victimhood – sex addiction. Comedian and TV show host, Jimmy Kimmel summed it up well when he said that sex addiction is the adult version of “the dog ate my homework.”

Real responsibility and accountability cannot include excuses or cries of helplessness or powerlessness such as an addiction that is not even recognized by the medical or psychiatric community.

Responsibility refers to being answerable or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management; the capacity for rational thought or action.

Finally and ironically, Sandra Bullock now finds herself in a predicament similar to those she has played on screen. Sandra has played the underdog and fought for the underdog and now she has become one in real life – it’s not even clear what will happen now to Jesse James’ daughter which Sandra raised and loved as her own for five years.

But none of us is perfect; we all make mistakes and we all have plenty to learn from life and our experiences; we all have the opportunity to grow and evolve.

In the movie, “The Blind Side” Sandra plays Leigh Anne, a character that was also pampered, overbearing and self-absorbed but whom helps a poor boy reach his potential as a star football player and achieves insightful self-discoveries of her own. Perhaps, a life lesson for Sandra and all women, is to learn to distinguish the men from the boys; and to awaken and realize that the energy and time to help a boy become a man should be reserved for the real boys in need of nurturing and development – a woman’s children and not her husband or boyfriend.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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