I know that when a lot of us think of October (at least as far as holidays go), Halloween is what immediately comes to mind. But did you know that it's also National Pizza Month and National Emotional Wellness Month? Or that October 1 was National Hair Day? Some other unique days to acknowledge include National Stop Bullying Day (October 9), National Curves Day (October 10), National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (October 15), National Black Poetry Day (October 17) and, a personal favorite, National Chocolate Day (October 28). But out of all of the days that are getting special shout-outs this month, I think the one that I appreciate the most is today—National Inner Beauty Day.
Let's be real. In a world of selfies, filters and fillers, it's not like the media—or society at large even—makes it a point to drive home the point that, no matter how much time, effort, energy and coins that we put into adorning our outer appearance, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter all that much if our inner beauty isn't all that, well, beautiful.
And even though your mama, granny and auntie probably told you this about a trillion times while growing up, did you ever wonder what "inner beauty" is actually referring to? In a pretty cool article that I read on the topic of inner beauty vs. outer beauty, the author said this:
"Inner beauty does not only have to be about loving what you're born with but also about what you are like as a person. Inner beauty is your intelligence, hobbies, aspirations—mostly what made you into who you are. It is also about the choices you have made in your life, your childhood dreams, how you are as a company."
To me, that speaks to two main things—our personality and our character. And yes, it is truly wonderful that there is an entire day set aside for us all to reflect on and then celebrate what is at the very core of our being.
So, no matter what else is already on your to-do list today, start (or finish) your Monday off right by focusing on what makes you the rare and awesome person that you are. Make sure to honor what exists even without any make-up, push-up bras or red bottoms. Love on what makes you truly shine—your inner beauty.
Inner Beauty Is Your Personality
"Your smile is your logo. Your personality is your business card. How you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark."—Jay Danzie
"Personality" is the kind of word that a lot of us use, even if we can't concisely explain what the word means.
Basically, your personality is the various traits and patterns that cause you to think, feel and act the way that you do. It is truly the fingerprint of your being.
It's also the kind of word that garners all sorts of adjectives including—ambitious, funny, smart, snarky, creative, introverted, extroverted, reliable, compassionate, optimistic, spiritual…you get the gist.
One of the reasons why it's so important to figure out your personality and then protect it is because the more you know about what makes you unique, the more you come to understand that 1) probably not everyone is going to "vibe" with your personality which is totally OK, and 2) the things that you like about your personality, you need to nurture; the things that you don't, you can make adjustments to. Just make sure that you always keep in mind that personality speaks to individuality and that's something that you should love on, not downplay. Today or ever.
How to Celebrate Your Personality
Take a personality test (or series of tests).
One way to celebrate your personality is to get to know it better. Personality tests are a tool that can make that possible for you. When I took a (free) one on 16 Personalities, it told me that I was a "protagonist". When I read its breakdown of why, it made complete and total sense. Personality tests are cool because it can help certain things about you that may initially seem unclear easier to understand. Once the light bulb turns on, that can make it easier for you to settle into your own skin more.
Schedule a standing pampering appointment.
What does pampering have to do with your personality? Girl, a lot. I'll give you a personal example. I consider myself to be a creative. Mine is in the lane of writing more than anything else. And since I'm constantly hacking away on my laptop and I'm always looking at my fingers (and toes since they are usually propped up), a mani/pedi appointment, at least a couple of times a month, is something that I am totally unapologetic about. It's my way of not only giving my hands and fingers some extra special attention, but my nail tech is always rolling her eyes because she knows I'm going to come up with some crazy way to decorate my nails too. It's a way of having fun with the very things that work so hard to help me to fulfill my purpose.
So yeah, thinking about parts of your personality and what you can do to pamper some of your favorite traits is also a great way to celebrate your personality and inner beauty overall.
Buy yourself something that expresses your personality.
I say it all of the time. I am definitely a walking human billboard; tees are sho 'nuf my thing. Fairly recently, I purchased a shirt (shout out to The Trini Gee and all of her crowning wokeness) that has a picture of some freed slaves on it with a caption underneath that says, "stereotyped as lazy ever since we stopped working for free". It's a bit shocking and direct. I have the tendency to be the same way, at times. Also, every year, I make a point to purchase a piece of jewelry with a stone or crystal that represents my focus for the next 12 months. It's another way to express my personality.
Another thing that you can do to celebrate your own personality is to think of what colors or gemstones or items that you can customize that will distinctively convey who you are without saying a word. After all, one's style is one of the best ways to exude their personality, no doubt.
Throw a "Let's Celebrate Ourselves" party with some friends.
While you're out here celebrating your own personality, how about taking a moment to reflect on the fact that you've actually got people in your life who complement your individuality and that you are able to reciprocate that energy right on back to them? If that ain't worth sharing a bottle of wine, a dinner or something, I don't know what is!
If you do decide to throw an impromptu "Let's Celebrate Our Own Damn Selves" party, something that could be cute is for each of you to be assigned a friend. Then think of a personality trait that best defines them, get a small gift that exudes it and have them guess what trait the gift reflects. Having a party that is all about how dope you and your friends' personalities are? Can it get any better than that?
Inner Beauty Is Your Character
"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, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."—I Peter 3:3-4(NKJV)
I know, right? Did you peep how the Bible put inner beauty right out there on front street? For the record, this doesn't say that there is anything wrong with caring about your appearance or adorning yourself. It simply says that it shouldn't take precedence over your heart and spirit. And, it shouldn't.
Whenever I think of character, I think of the quote by Paul Rabil that says, "Character is what you do when no one else is watching." Indeed.
What folks post on their socials isn't automatically or necessarily their character. What they are willing to do without an audience or if they knew there would be no consequences for their behavior? That is the core of their "moral or ethical quality".
And yes, that too is a part of what comprises our inner beauty (or inner ugly, if we're not careful). Character is what beckons us to mature, be self-aware and act like responsible human beings. Now, how in the world do you celebrate that part of you?
How to Celebrate Your Character
Treat yourself for doing something that stretched your character this year.
Something that someone in my world used to say all of the time, whenever I would ask her how she is doing is, "I'm building character." I don't know what 2019 did for you, but what it did for me was show me how to take ownership for my actions while not allowing others to manipulate me for theirs. As a result of being able to do that, I've been able to make peace with some folks who I used to be anything but peaceful with. And chile, that stretched me so much that you better believe I'm going to celebrate the growth!
Along these same lines, think of an area of your life where your own blood, sweat and tears have helped you to become a better and stronger individual. Whatever that is, do something special to commemorate it. Any time we "build character", that is worthy of recognition and jubilee—a few times over.
Find a motto, quote and theme song for your life.
I need to get a T-shirt made that says "B-Side" on it because I'm the girl who likes the songs that never becomes singles. Take Brandy's unreleased track "Freedom" for instance. There is something about her singing/saying, "Free to run on the water/Free to believe free to love/Free to speak that mountain off the ground" that hypes me up every time I hear it. A self-made motto that I live by is "Love is a gift, not a bribe." (Some of y'all will catch that later.) A quote that is a foundational truth in my life is a Leo Buscaglia one that I try to "sneak into" copy as often as I possibly can:
"As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming."
For me, all three of these things speak to true inner freedom which is what I desire to have a lot in this particular season of my life. As you're thinking of ways to celebrate your character, what are the mottos, quotes and songs that "trigger" you in the best ways possible?
Get yourself a new self-help book, journal or Bible.
At the top of the month, singer Erica Campbell was on The Breakfast Club. A part of what she talked about was her new bookMore Than Pretty: Doing the Soul Work that Uncovers Your True Beauty. When she was asked about why she believed that the book was needed at this time, one of the things that she said was it was all about "Being honest with the good and bad of you." Seems to me that her offering is right on time for what we're talking about.
Why not gift yourself with this book, some other self-help book, a new journal or maybe even a new Bible? Sometimes, the best way to honor your inner self is to seek out books and tools that will help you to dig deeper into who you are and what your inner being truly needs.
Set a Fruit of the Spirit goal.
Let's end this on a spiritual high note. Whether you are a Bible follower or not, the characteristics that make up the Fruit of the Spirit are divine and purpose-filled ones. According to Galatians 5:22, they are "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control". Something that I do every 16 months or so is pick one of these traits to "grow up" in. This year, it was peace. Next year…maybe gentleness. We'll see.
As I wind all of this down, in honor of strengthening your character and becoming even more radiant as it relates to your own inner beauty, consider also being more intentional when it comes to learning about love, joy or (have mercy) self-control. A Latin-American actor by the name of Dolores Del Rio once said, "Take care of your inner, spiritual beauty. That will reflect in your face."
Y'all, inner beauty is better than any lipstick, eyeshadow or anything else you could put on. Let today be a reminder that if you take care of your inner beauty, your outer beauty will take care of itself. Happy National Inner Beauty Day, everyone!
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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 email@example.com. 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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy