Something that my mother used to say fairly often to me is, "You are violent about getting healthy and maintaining your peace of mind." It's a bit of a play on words, but honestly, she ain't neva lied. In a world that is filled with drama (both online and off), people who change with the weather and challenges that can totally take you out (if you let them), I have learned that the best way to remain stable and centered is to make sure that I am in a state of peace. That I know how to calm my spirit down. That I can be still instead of busy, just for the sake of doing something. That no matter how hectic, erratic or nerve-wracking things may be around me, I can choose to remain composed, steady and completely undisturbed. Yeah, inner peace ain't nothin' to be slept on. It's one of the truest art forms that there is.
Yet and still, with all of the poppin' off that folks do, the stress-related illnesses that so many of us have and the obsessive worrying and overthinking that a lot of us subject ourselves to, sometimes we forget that inner peace is a surefire remedy to all of this. So, how can you know that you are more at peace with yourself than most?
1. You Feel As If You’ve Got Nothing to Prove
As life would have it, I found myself watching artist T-Pain on The Breakfast Club recently. Before he got into, let's just say a lot (he's pretty open about he and his wife engaging in threesomes from time to time and his interview basically went viral due to him running through $40 million bucks), I must say that I felt him when he said something in particular.
"I've wasted enough time trying to get people to see my truth. The relief of stress that I've had, not trying to prove anything to people…it's so great. My truth is I'm happy…the people who take their time to go on my page and go to a post where I'm doing something great just to tell me I fell off…you took time out of your day for this?...That used to determine how my day went. I gave that so much power, and now I can look back at myself and be like, 'Who are these people?'…they weren't there with me when with me shootin' in the gym, they weren't there when I came up crazy. They weren't there when I was doin' all of my biggest stuff, so now that things aren't 2008 anymore, I'm not gonna let them determine what happens to me during my day. My kids do that. My wife does that."
BET has a series calledBlew A Bag that also showcases how well-known people "lost" their money. I've checked out of a few of their stories. My two takeaways is they are cautionary tales on money management, and if there is one thing most of those people have in common with where T-Pain appears to be now is real peace is when you feel like there is no need to prove anything to anyone other than yourself and your loved ones.
2. Your Looks Don’t Consume You
OK, so when I say that your looks shouldn't consume you, I don't mean that you shouldn't take pride in your appearance. What comes to mind here is a Scripture and an article. Let's go with the Scripture first. A portion of I Peter 3:3(NKJV) says, "Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart…" The emphasis here is on the word "merely". "Merely" means that how we look on the outside should not consume us to the point that our character isn't more important. This ties in really well with the article I was referring to. In spring of 2018, Harper's Bazaar published "The Challenges of Raising a Black Girl to Feel Beautiful". In it, the author said that a psychologist by the name of Dr. Shefali Tsabary once said, "the best thing a mother can do is be her most empowered, authentic self." Amen.
A woman who is truly at peace with herself enjoys a nice pair of shoes and has no problem pampering her appearance. But what she's going to spend even more time on is thriving in her purpose, taking care of her responsibilities and becoming the kind of individual who is known for her inward beauty far more than how she looks on the outside. She doesn't have time to constantly stand in the mirror; her "life plate" is way too full for that.
3. You Prefer Peace Over Always Being Right
I try my best to always give credit where credit is due and, one of the best things that Dr. Phil has ever said (at least to me) is, "Would you rather be happy or right?" If I could tweak that, my question would be "Do you have to know everything, or would you rather have peace in your relationships?"
Last year, I penned a piece on here entitled "I'm Not A Fan Of My BFF's Man - This Is How I Make Our Friendship Work". It was in reference to a girlfriend whose husband, while he isn't this way all of the time, if he wants to be right about something, he turns into the most condescending, patronizing and disrespectful person I have ever met. I'm talking, you're gonna get a barrage of emails with links proving his point, he's going to over-talk you, and even hurl insults if necessary (one time, he said to me, "Go back to your irrelevant blogging that no one reads" after I "won" a debate). He typically apologizes within a 24-hour period, but yeah, when he gets in that zone, he does the absolute most.
Here's the thing about him, though. One time, he got me so mad that we were in a screaming match on the patio of a restaurant. After that, I realized "This man is getting me out of myself. And for what?" Ever since then, while he can still show his tail sometimes, what I've come to accept is, wow, it must be mad draining for him to live with himself; to be so obsessed with always being right—to be that afraid of being wrong—that folks find themselves not even wanting to be around him.
In that headspace, these days, whenever he says something that either I don't agree with or I know is pretty close to asinine, I think about the fact that I'm not gonna win a million dollars for expressing my opinion or for proving him wrong, so why not just let him rant and keep my inner peace? It's a woosah like no other to want peace over the need to be right—when you are confident enough in yourself that you don't need someone else to co-sign on your thoughts or for them to validate the knowledge that you already know that you have.
4. You Repel Drama at All Costs
Something that used to get me in a lot of trouble is gravitating to people who are funny and dramatic. On one hand, their humor and impeccable timing would keep me in stitches. On the other, they had such an impulsive and immature way of handling issues and conflict that everything was a soap opera. Yes, they were bona fide drama queens (or kings). What are some signs of this type of person? They always need to be the center of attention; they tend to always put emotion even over common sense; they can't take what they dish out; they are uber-passive aggressive; they overreact about…shoot, what don't they overreact about?; they're very picky, hypercritical and they typically act before they think (and that's just the tip of the iceberg).
If you read all of that and felt exhausted just thinking about those traits, you're someone who probably does everything that you possibly can to avoid this type of individual. I get it too because one thing that peace means is tranquility and a tranquil state comes with no commotion, quiet and calm. When you're at peace with yourself, you'll let a "fun person" go, if it means not having to deal with the drama that follows them.
5. You Are Gracious and Grateful
I was born with a natural bass in my voice. God made me that way and I'm fine with it. However, I will say that I find it interesting that, the more peaceful I am with myself, the "less loud" I tend to be (funny how that works, huh?). At the same time, I've got a girlfriend who is so soft-spoken that, even a decade into our friendship, not one phone call happens when I don't have to ask her to speak up. I'll admit that I find there to be something really sexy about that because, it's not that she can't amplify her voice (or tone); she simply chooses not to. When I've asked her why, she says it's because she doesn't feel the need to "turn up" to be seen or heard.
When it comes to her resolve, the first word that comes to mind is "feminine". The second is "gracious". When you are standing in your power to the point that you don't have to yell and scream for people to acknowledge it, there is something very elegant and easy about mindset.
Something else that I like about my friend is she's very polite. She's always going to say "please" and "thank you". Also, she's a joy to do things for because she always has such a beautiful sense of gratitude. She does her best to take nothing and no one for granted, and that kind of person is always someone you want to look out for. Yep, when you can be gracious and grateful, you have a true peace within you.
6. You Do Not Feel the Need to Control Others
As a control freak in recovery, I'm a firm believer that about 98.9 percent of controlling people know that they are this way. I also believe that peace is one of the furthest things that they have going for them. Just think about it. If you're a perfectionist; if you micro-manage; if everything has to go your way all of the time; if you're always criticizing someone—how are you ever able to calm down and relax?
Again, as someone who has recovered, in many ways, when it comes to this, what I have learned is the main person a control freak tends to not have under control is themselves (because another trait of control freaks is moodiness). But the more they focus on finding balance, which creates peace, within their own lives, the less they need to be control of what's going on outside of them.
Why? Because they know that all they can control is themselves. Not only that, but they put boundaries in place so that there is no need to control other individuals. And you know what? There really isn't.
7. You Prefer to Be Respected Instead of Liked
Companies that I have written for, know that I only really have two requests—make sure to list my pen name as "Shellie R. Warren" and make sure that payments come on time (umm, since my content comes on time). On the name tip, there are some people who will leave out the "R" and even misspell Shellie (no "y" or "ey" in my case) or worse, I'll have editors who will address me as "Shirley". Then, when I correct them, they think I am "doing the most".
Apparently, I'm not the only one with name drama. I recently watched a video about how to pronounce certain celebrity names properly. Rihanna has told us that it is "Ree-anna (like anna not ah-na). Chrissy Teigen has told us that her last name is "Tie-gen" not "Tee-gen". Amandla Stenberg does indeed have an "L" in her first name (it's not Amanda). Addressing someone, even when it comes to their name, properly is a sign of respect. People who are at peace with themselves, they require respect. Even more so than being liked.
Why? Because inner peace is tied into self-esteem and self-awareness. The more you evolve in both of these areas, the more you come to accept that people liking you will change—time changes things, circumstances change things and plus, some people are fickle AF. But it doesn't matter what the dynamics are, there is no reason why you should be disrespected. Peaceful people tend to be on the, "Shoot, I like myself, so I don't need a ton of others to like me. I'm not gonna allow you to treat me any ole' kind of way, though." This includes how you address them. And good for them for being that way.
8. You Don’t Need Everyone to Understand, Like or Agree with You
It's funny because, as I was sitting down to pen this, I took a break to see what was happening in YouTube world. The stories that came up in my suggestion feed are ones that I feel are totally worth your time. One was about a Black curvy girl who was shopping for a bridal gown at a shop that specializes in plus-size brides; one that was founded by a Black woman and has the dopest energy. Another story was about a super-inspiring Black woman who cooks and even puts on eyelashes with her feet (she was born without arms). Another featured Aevin Dugas. If you don't know her, she holds the record for having the largest Afro.
As I was listening to everyone share their own insights and perspectives, the thing that I felt they all had in common was how at peace they were. Kareen, the woman shopping for a dress, was looking for a dress that would, not hide, but would hug her every curve. Kashmiere, the woman with no arms has her own YouTube channel, alongside her man. And while some of us are struggle with even going (or staying) natural, Aevin's Afro is four feet tall and four feet wide.
I find these women to be super-inspiring, but I'm willing to bet that not everyone in their world—and especially not everyone they come into contact with—agrees with how they choose to approach life. While some days may be more challenging than others, it is very evident that, at least for the most part, all three of these ladies are at peace because obstacles nor opinions are standing in their way. If we "get" them cool. If not, kindly move out of their way. All of us should take this same approach, don't you think?
9. You Make Rest a Top Priority
I'm gonna share with you some synonyms for peace. Tell me if they don't automatically put you in a relaxed state of mind—harmony, bliss, calm, quiet, stillness and serenity. People who are at peace with themselves tend to have a home that embodies these words, they use scents that embody these words, and they make it a point and practice to participate in the kind of things that embody these words too. They meditate. They unplug to enjoy quiet time. They take vacations. One day a week is reserved for pampering. In other words, they rest—without excuses, reservations or apologies.
Personally, I always think there is something up with people who always have to be doing something. I mean, no matter what, they can't just chill out and be still. It might be the marriage life coach in me, but I always wonder if they're afraid to be alone with their own thoughts. People who are peaceful aren't. In fact, they relish in having the time and space to ponder, reflect and then, after doing so, to rest. Sleep and all.
10. You Know How to Stay in the Moment. Each and Every Moment.
Deepak Chopra once said, "Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment." Out of all of the stuff that I shared, one of the absolute best ways to know that you are at peace with yourself, is you're not constantly dwelling on your past and you're certainly not fretting about your future either. There's a Scripture in the Bible that says, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:34—NKJV) There's another that says, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow…" (James 4:13-14—NKJV).
Are these verses encouraging irresponsibility or a lack of planning? No. What they are conveying is saying is if you stay in the moment, it keeps you calm, it encourages you to be grateful and it gives you an unbelievable amount of peace. And with inner peace, you can accomplish—and conquer—just about anything that comes your way. (Funny how that works, huh?)
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Originally published on August 25, 2019
- How To Be Honest With Yourself, Self-Honesty - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- 5 Daily Steps To Protect Your Peace - xoNecole: Lifestyle, Culture, Love, & Wellness ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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Featured image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images