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Having it all, and still empty: The Case of Jada Pinckett-Smith

“We avoid ourselves through medication, and submerging ourselves in work, mindless entertainment or in the lives of those who need us. “

This title makes an all-too-common assumption that ‘having it all’ is defined solely in terms of acquisitions of material possessions or status. Pinkett-Smith’s memoirs reveal that from a spiritual perspective she was deficient for most of her life. So, in the truest sense, she never had it all but only gave that false impression. This is not unique to JPS. The journey inward and to God takes a lifetime of discipline and honesty with oneself, god and others. God knows, but still we try to hide from him as Adam and Eve hid in the garden of Eden after they ate of the forbidden fruit.

Popular culture teaches us that once we acquire certain material things, tangible and intangible, we will experience lasting happiness. furthermore, the spiritual quest, is seen as optional and not integral to happiness. JPS is an actor, producer, talk show host and most recently the author of ‘Worthy’ – her personal memoirs. She cried out to the universe – “why am I not happy?” when from the outside looking in, she had every reason to be happy, or so she thought.


We fall into certain mental traps:

If I make enough money, it will make me happy

“I don’t care too much for money, ’cause money can’t buy me love.”

The perfect spouse will make me happy.

‘Caught up in the rapture of love’

If I have a family, it will make me happy.

Family Photo

The perfect career will make me happy.

Walk of Fame

Once Pinckett-Smith had started her journey of inner healing, she concluded that it is necessary to “start inwardly from the bottom and build”. She posed the question to herself, “How can I walk in this world, and be okay with myself no matter what?”

The problem is that we fail to realise that we are with ourselves 24/7. Unless you are a Siamese twin, you are not likely to spend every second of every day with another human being. We find the notion of being with ourselves intimidating. Most of the time, when we look into the mirror, we do not like what we see. We avoid ourselves through medication, and submerging ourselves in work, mindless entertainment or in the lives of those who need us. If we truly looked at ourselves, there may be unmet needs or unfulfilled desires that emerge which we haven’t the foggiest how to go about achieving. That is the beauty and mystery of living. We first of all need to acknowledge who we are and what we want or feel God has called us to do. That’s when the journey really begins.

JPS admits that she she lost herself in the heady first flush of excitement when she first started going out with Will Smith, her famous husband. She thought she was cured of her mental health issues when she met him, but they were only suppressed. Indeed, we can never surrender our responsibility for our own well-being to another human being. she is a self-described “high functioning depressive”.

Songs abound in popular culture about the search for happiness. Mary J. Blige crooned “All I really want is to be happy.”. …screamed, “I can’t get no satisfaction!” Charlene mused, “I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.”

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