Kūlia i ka nuʻu (Strive to reach the highest) Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha (There is life in a kindly reply)


Leinaʻala Ahu Isa, Ph.D., Trustee, At-Large

“Someday everything will make perfect sense. So, for now, just laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything in life happens for a reason.” –Unknown

Aloha mai kākou! It’s going to happen! It’s bound to happen! On your pathway through life, others are going to lie about you, stab you in the back, confuse your motives, and misinterpret your intentions. They are going to overreact, blame you, say mean things about you to everyone around you. They’re going to shout, point fingers, lie, scream, and accuse you of things that are just not true. AND YOU’RE GOING TO FEEL BETRAYED, INDIGNANT, AND FULL OF RIGHTEOUS RAGE. This is going to make you do the “wrong” thing. You’re probably going to lash out. Defend yourself…You’re going to make sure everyone knows that you are being wronged. You sound angry, bitter, irrational and mean. That’s what happens naturally. When you feel threatened, you do stupid things that make it seem like your unfair treatment might not be so unfair after all. So it’s important to be deliberate about what you do next.

Here are three (3) things you should do:

  1. STOP SHOUTING…START LISTENING…FOR RIGHT NOW, AT LEAST! For at least 24 hours, don’t do anything. Don’t defend yourself. Don’t lash out. Find some place that’s quiet and think things through. Just listen. There will be a time when you need to go to war. There will be a time where you need to defend yourself…but that time is not right now. It’s a big mistake to act too quickly on your emotions — because they’re making you irrational. Everything you do will be tinged with anger and bitterness. So just stop shouting and start listening. Listen for what isn’t being said. Listen for the feelings and emotions that you hear expressed by others. For a few moments concentrate on others…not on yourself! What you hear will be important for what you do next.
  2. REACH OUT DIRECTLY (AND PRIVATELY) TO THE OTHER PERSON. If you’re trying to resolve a situation where someone else misunderstood you, then reach out directly to the person who caused the problem. It makes no sense to waste your emotions defending yourself to everyone else when you could simply be explaining your intentions to the person who treated you wrong. Send an email. Pick up the phone and call them. Use social media, there’s no excuse to not connect directly and work through this situation. It’s not a grudge match. It’s just a conversation. Start off the conversation by simply explaining your intentions. You need one-on-one access. Don’t waste your emotions on things that don’t matter.
  3. APOLOGIZE AND CHANGE IF YOU NEED TO. IF NOT, DON’T FAKE IT. Sometimes you get things wrong. There will be times when you weren’t misunderstood — you were just wrong. Whether it’s an accident or a deliberate action that you undertook, there are times where you get it wrong. You can feud with the person who treated you unfairly, or you can apologize and move on. You need to change because you want to be better. And if you don’t want to change, then don’t. What only makes situations like this even worse is when you pretend to change but have no intention of doing anything different. Sometimes you don’t need to change — you just need to apologize for something that happened and move on. Apologize when you’re wrong. Don’t let your dreams be squashed by attitudes that are entirely in your control.


Ke Akua Pū, A hui hou,
na Trustee Leinaʻala

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Leinaʻala Ahu Isa, Ph.D. was elected an “at-large” trustee in 2014 and currently serves as Board of Trustees vice chair. She has held elected offices in the Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives and the State Board of Education. She served on OHA’s first Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund Board. Retired as the Executive Director of Small Business Management at UH Mānoa, she also brings a wealth of business knowledge as Hawaiʻi Pacific University’s Chair of MBA Programs, and Professor of Business Management and Entrepreneurship courses. She is passionate to serve, with a strong ethically-driven fiduciary duty. To contact, call (808) 594-1877 or email: TrusteeAhuIsa@oha.org.