Quick & Easy Self-Esteem Hacks That Will Have You Feeling Yourself
Self-esteem. It's one of those terms we hear so much that I can't help but wonder, if all of us were asked what it was if we'd provide similar answers. As someone who can raise her hand in this class and admit that I battled with self-esteem for years on end, I realize that a point of my personal struggle was that I didn't get that it was synonymous with self-respect.
A woman who has self-respect is motivated by love not fear. A woman with self-respect cares about her character more than her appearance (her looks are the icing, not the cake). A woman with self-respect is unapologetic about setting boundaries that will protect her mind, body, and spirit. A woman with self-respect knows that she can't love others well if she doesn't put God first and her soul second. A woman with self-respect is driven, genuine, self-nurturing, profoundly spiritual, and absolutely adores her own company. A woman with self-respect is unapologetically unstoppable when it comes to her purpose, goals, and ambitions.
There is nothing that a woman with self-respect can't do. That's probably why so many of us battle with getting to this point and place in our lives. Once we do, there's nothing we can't do. Ever.
If you know that self-esteem is a bit of a struggle for you, that is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. All of us have been there and most of us have moments where we relapse. But whether you're looking for steps to strengthen your being altogether, or you're simply "having a moment" and need to tap back into your self-awareness and self-worth, here are some self-esteem hacks that can get you right back on track. Promise.
Wear Your Favorite Color
I've written on color psychology before; it's about more than simply having a favorite color and wearing it. Different hues tap into different sides of our nature; they can also reveal things that we want to attain at particular points in our lives. For instance, if you're really drawn to green, you may be desiring holistic health and/or financial success. If blue is your fave, internal peace and tranquility may be what you're after. Orange symbolizes creativity, purple symbolizes royalty, and grey symbolizes reliability and maturity.
On the mornings when you wake up, look in the mirror and don't feel so great about yourself, redirect your emotions by putting your favorite color on. Then Google what it symbolizes. All of the positive words that you see, think of yourself as being the literal embodiment of them, thanks to the outfit (and/or make-up) that you have on.
Adjust Your Posture
My posture isn't the best. It comes from sitting — and by that, I mean slouching — in my comfy chair as I'm writing throughout the day. But ever since I read that our posture has a direct effect on our moods, I've been more intentional about sitting up straight.
How does posture have the power to make us feel bad? Whenever we slouch, it puts stress on our body; especially our spine. That can affect how we breathe, which can affect the amount of oxygen that gets to our brain. Over time, that can make us feel drained, sad, and even depressed.
If you're like most of the free world, you probably spend most of your time sitting at a computer all day. If you want to know how you should be sitting, click here for the breakdown. Make adjustments where needed and see if it makes you feel better. It should.
Think. Then Act. Immediately.
Something that low self-esteem does is rob us of our self-confidence. One way to get it back is to make a decision and then act on it — immediately. If you know that it's time to end a toxic relationship, stop venting to your girls about it. Write Mr. Crazy an email and send it. If you've been talking about needing to work out more, on your lunch break, sign up for a gym membership. If you've been wanting to move up at your office, walk over to your manager and request a formal meeting.
People with high self-esteem are never comfortable with just talking about how they want their life to be; they are always making the kind of moves that get them closer to their aspirations and goals.
Write a Personal Mission Statement
I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I am all about annual mission statements, though. They are a great way to keep you focused on what your core values are and the kind of contribution you want to make in this world. A personal mission statement can also serve as a guide so that you can know when you're about to make a decision that works in your favor vs. one that could totally throw you off course.
It's been a while since I've penned a professional mission statement (I need to get on that), but I did write a personal one around my birthday last year and bay-bay — it totally changed my life! And was like a Vitamin B12 shot to my self-esteem. I am all about penning them. (If you've never written one before, you can learn how to here.)
Attempt Something New
Again, self-esteem is all about self-respect and self-respect is all about honoring both yourself and your time. Every single day that the Most High gives you is an opportunity to do something great in a way that no one else on this planet can do it. Unfortunately, most of us don't live our lives this way. We stay stuck in a routine that consists of very little fun, spontaneity, or newness.
There are all sorts of data to support that doing things like traveling to foreign countries, conquering things that scare us or taking risks all play a role in making us more self-aware and comfortable with ourselves.
When's the last time you did something for the first time? What are you waiting on? Your self-esteem needs you to.
Turn Off Your Notifications (for the Rest of the Day)
Yeah, I already know. Some of y'all aren't gonna be happy to hear this, but there is scientific evidence to support that our smartphones have a way of doing some real damage to our self-esteem and level of happiness. Between all of the bad (or just plain crazy) news, celebrity gossip, exes on IG, and filtered pics of people — sometimes it's more than our minds and hearts can take. Then, if you add to that all of the texts that are constantly coming through from people we personally know, it's a miracle that we're able to get anything done.
If you're tapped into the Matrix so much that it's got you doubting yourself, comparing yourself, or tempting yourself to do things that are truly counterproductive (like sliding into someone's DMs who has already proven to be absolutely no good for you), do yourself, your self-esteem, and your future a favor and turn your notifications off for the rest of the day. Take out a few hours to hear nothing but silence. Watch how much the quiet empowers you.
Say “No” More Often
As a former codependent, I'm here to tell you that nothing takes its toll on your self-esteem quite like not establishing boundaries does or having them but allowing people to make you feel guilty for the ones that you've set. Setting boundaries is not mean or selfish. It's the ultimate form of self-care.
If you're someone who is a people pleaser that runs your own self into the ground by saying "yes" to everyone and everything all of the time, take a moment to ask yourself why you do that. If what comes to mind are things like you fear rejection or you're afraid folks won't like you if you say "no" sometimes, guess what the remedy to that is? SAYING NO.
Not only will it teach you how to take care of your own needs more often, but you'll be able to see who's in your life for the right reasons; who's in your world because they love you vs. all of the things that you do for them.
Use Some Orange Essential Oil
Aromatherapy is king — and queen. It's one of the quickest and easiest ways to totally alter our moods. Keeping this in mind, remember how I said that the color orange represents creative energy? Well, the scent of orange has the ability to relieve anxiety, anger, and depression. Many who use it also say that it improved their moods within moments of putting it on. That's because orange oil contains properties that serve as an antioxidant and an antidepressant too.
Do Something (Anonymously) for Someone Else
Another indication of someone who has a high level of self-esteem is, they don't need an audience or applause every time they do something. So long as God and they know about it, they're good; that's how at peace with themselves they are.
Words really can't express how wonderful it can make you feel to do something nice for someone without them (or anyone else) knowing anything about it. Giving that has no ulterior motive or agenda is a true characteristic of the strong.
Unfortunately, a lot of us confuse daily upkeep with actually treating ourselves. Taking a bubble bath, getting your nails done, buying some new underwear — that files under cleaning yourself, not looking crazy and keeping bacteria away from your nether regions.
Sis, please aim higher. Be intentional about 1) setting some money aside to indulge yourself and 2) doing it 1-2 times a month. Make sure it's the kind of things that remind you of just how beautiful, wonderful, and valuable you are; things that don't need a rhyme or reason other than you're worth it. Because you are!
Treating oneself is something that took me a while to put into practice. But now that I have, I can personally vouch for the fact that it is the ultimate self-esteem hack. It really is.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Summer Walker's 'Caresha Please' Interview Shows Why Yung Miami Is The Ultimate Girl's Girl
As one-half of the City Girls, Yung Miami (born Caresha Brownlee) has always used her voice to empower women, whether it’s telling them to boss up or leave a relationship that’s no longer serving them. And with her Revolt podcast, “Caresha Please,” Miami continues to uplift other women but in a more intimate setting.
The “Act Up” rapper’s latest interview with Summer Walker proves that she not only raps about it but she practices what she preaches. The interview covered everything from the “Unloyal” singer’s dating life to being a mother to her music career. When the conversation shifted to Summer’s anxiety, Miami used the moment to praise the Billboard music award winner’s qualities and talent.
Summer has been vocal about her anxiety in the past and explained that it sometimes affects her when she’s performing. While talking to Miami, she also shared that she struggles with being herself in public because she fears being judged.
“They be judging ratchet b--hes, like they really be judging ratchet b--hes,” the “Pull Up” singer said. “People be like, ‘oh, she look dirty, she look dusty, she’s ghetto, like dadada…so I be tryna just keep it together, and then I know it’s also hard for people to like understand the concept of multifaceted people like people that have different sides of them, like it’s not just one way, and it be confusing people, and they be like, ‘well, how she sing about this but she act like this.”
Summer continued by saying that that’s why she is generally quiet on stage because she doesn’t want to say anything “stupid.”
Miami quickly chimed in to let Summer know that it’s okay to be herself, and that’s why people love her. “Anybody that knows me know like I’m a big Summer Walker fan, and I feel like when it comes to R&B artists, we don’t have a R&B artist that’s showing their personality or showing a different side,” she said.
“When we see R&B artists, we just see like their music and just the reserved them, so I kinda feel like to have a new R&B artist that’s ratchet, that’s themselves, that’s what we need. That’s what’s missing, and that’s what make you, you, and that’s one of the reasons why I fell in love with you because when I found out who Summer Walker was, it was “Girls Need Love,” and then I remember, I saw like a twerking video of you on the pole, and I’m like, ‘I love this b--h.’”
She continued, “Like I never saw that from a R&B singer, and I feel like from one artist to another, I don’t feel like you should bury your personality or not be true to yourself because of perspective.” The “Jobs” artist ended her response by saying that people love others who are authentic.
Summer admitted that everything Miami said was true and that she never thought of it like that. “People just be in their head for no reason,” she said.
We love seeing women give other women their flowers and provide safe spaces. At the end of the interview, both Summer and Miami expressed how much they like each other and how they should hang out more.
Miami’s interview with Summer is the true definition of sisterhood.
Summer Walker Talks Realizing Her Self-Worth, London On Da Track, Lil Meech & More | Caresha Pleasewww.youtube.com
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