Stardom has always been glamorized to make the average person believe that money can fix anything. Tragic stories like those of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston are proof that celebrity isn't all it's cracked up to be. In 2018, celebrities from all walks of life are making it clear that transparency is the wave of the millennial generation. Now more than ever, stars are becoming more open about sharing their struggles and publicly rejecting the claim that money equals happiness.
Janet Jackson recently opened up in an open essay that will be published in Essence's July/August issue about how her search for happiness has been a life-long journey, despite her wildly successful four-decade career in the entertainment industry. She said:
"When it comes to happiness, I'm no expert. I have only my life experience as a guide. I've known great happiness and great sadness. But I guess the key question is, What do I really know about happiness?"
She explained that although she would experience temporary moments of happiness, like when her brothers came home from touring, or when she was performing, the 52-year-old singer could not manage to overcome her insecurities regarding her physical appearance.
Over time, this inferiority complex led her to become a people pleaser who sought to make everyone happy, but herself. Now, as a more mature version of her former self, Janet understands that "true happiness is doing the best you can."
The multi-talented entertainment mogul said it has been less than a decade since she discovered this concept, which had been elusive to her for years. Janet has been an icon for as long as I can remember and has successfully snatched our edges for almost half of a century, so it's easy to forget that she's a human too. And not just any human, a woman.
Despite her superhuman ability to slay any stage she steps on, Janet Jackson is a black woman who has feelings just like you and me; feelings that sometimes get too heavy to bear.
"In my forties: Like millions of women in the world, I still heard voices inside my head berating me, voices questioning my value. Happiness was elusive. A reunion with old friends might make me happy. A call from a colleague might make me happy. But because sometimes I saw my failed relationships as my fault, I easily fell into despair."
Like millions of other women in the world, Janet suffered from periods of darkness and depression.
"These were difficult years, when I struggled with depression. The struggle was intense. I could analyze the source of my depression forever. Low self-esteem might be rooted in childhood feelings of inferiority. It could relate to failing to meet impossibly high standards. And of course there are always the societal issues of racism and sexism. Put it all together and depression is a tenacious and scary condition. Thankfully, I found my way way through it…"
Janet told Essence that her tenacity in her fight for internal peace on her journey to happiness came thanks to her biggest (and tiniest) blessing.
"Now the height of happiness is holding my baby son in my arms and hearing him coo, or when I look into his smiling eyes and watch him respond to my tenderness. When I kiss him. When I sing him softly to sleep. During those sacred times, happiness is everywhere. Happiness is in gratitude to God…"
Janet Jackson reminds us that happiness is temporary, but Joy will sustain you. Things happen that our out of our control, so it's self-destructive to base our moves on our mood. Seasons change, and every day may not be one that's happy.
When we take the time to find joy in the blessings that we take for granted on a daily basis, we can discover happiness in every moment.
Featured image by JC Olivera/WireImage