By now you’ve likely heard about Congresswoman Maxine Waters famously and appropriately interrupting Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during last week’s House Financial Services Committee meeting. If you haven’t seen the video, I’ve linked it here, but essentially Maxine (we’re now on a first name basis) asks a very clear and direct question that Mnuchin “responds” to with a roundabout statement. In an attempt to redirect him and hold him accountable, Mnuchin’s vague non-answers are repeatedly met with “reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time…” As entertaining as this moment is, there’s honestly something much deeper and more meaningful at play. Here, Maxine not only informs us that her time is valuable and should not be wasted but also, and more importantly, reminds us of our own value and gives us permission to identify and remove the time-wasters within our own lives.
Sometimes we deal with time-wasters longer than we should because we want to be patient and kind. Sometimes it’s because we don’t think we deserve more or maybe we just don’t know any better. We just want to give them a chance, but there are moments when we have to wake up and acknowledge that there’s a difference between being patient and being played. The question is how long will it take you to realize the difference and finally reclaim what’s been taken from you for so long? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather waste as little time as possible. Time is both precious and valuable and life is short enough as it is. And while it may hurt or be uncomfortable in the moment, life becomes brighter and lighter when we recognize our own worth and learn what we will and will not tolerate.
As Nina Simone once sang, “[we] have to learn when to leave the table when love is no longer being served.” Maybe it’s not love. Maybe it’s respect. Maybe it’s a simple response to a simple question. Whatever it is, we must hold those that betray that trust and relationship accountable and distance ourselves if it’s what’s best for us.
When we take back our time from those who tried or maybe even succeeded in stealing it away, we give ourselves an opportunity to do what’s best for us. We give ourselves permission to stand on our own two feet, to try something we’ve always wanted, to discover a new hobby or return to an old one. We show ourselves the respect and love we deserve.
I’ve been in a number of circumstances where I’ve been taken advantage of, and that stops today. Reclaiming my time is already this year’s mantra–and for good reason, it’s all about self-love and self-respect. I’m thankful for Maxine Waters for reminding me of my value and strength, and I can’t wait to see what I do with my reclaimed time. I hope you’ll reclaim yours, too!