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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Unapologetically, Chlöe: The R&B Star On Finding Love, Self-Acceptance & Boldly Using Her Voice
On set inside of a mid-city Los Angeles studio, it’s all eyes on Chlöe. She slightly shifts her body against a dark backdrop amidst camera clicks and whirs, giving a seductive pout here, and piercing eye contact there. Her chocolate locs are adorned with a few jewels that she requested to spice up the look, and on her shoulders rests a jeweled piece that she asked to be turned around to better showcase her neck (“I feel a bit old,” she said of the original direction). Her shapely figure is tucked into a strapless bodysuit with a deep v-neck that complements her décolletage.
Though subtle, her quiet wardrobe directives give the air of a woman who’s been here before, and certainly knows what she’s doing. At 24 years young, she’s a “Bossy” chick in training— one who’s politely unapologetic and learning the power of her own voice.
“I'm hesitant sometimes to truly speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believe,” she later confessed to me a couple of weeks after the photoshoot. “It's always scary for me, but now I'm realizing that I have to, in order to gain respect as a Black woman— a young Black woman— who's still navigating who she is. And you know, I'm realizing that closed mouths don't get fed. And if I keep my mouth shut just because I'm afraid of what people's opinions of me will be or turn into, then that's not any way to live.”
For Chlöe, the journey into womanhood is about embracing who she is, without succumbing to the perceptions of what others think of her. From the waist up she’s everything you’d imagine. A gorgeous goddess with the kind of sex appeal that some work hard to embrace but fail to exude. But unbeknownst to anyone not on set, her bottom half is covered by a white robe, surprising coming from the girl who boasts “'Cause my booty so big, Lord, have mercy” on her first hit single “Have Mercy.”
But that’s the beauty of Chlöe. There’s more to her than meets the eye. More than what a few sensual photos sprinkled throughout an Instagram feed could ever tell you. Just like the photo-framing illusion of her portrayed from the waist up, what we know about the songstress is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more beneath the surface.
Some hours later Chlöe leans back in a high chair as her locs are transformed from a formal updo to a seemingly Basquiat-inspired one. It’s pure art, and at her request, no wigs are a part of the day’s ensemble. She’s fully embracing her natural hair, a decision that wasn’t always a socially accepted one.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, (Mableton, to be exact) Chlöe began to explore the foundation of her self-image. At an early age she and her younger sister, Halle, demonstrated a vocal prowess and knack for being in front of the camera that caught their parents’ attention. Soon after, they were sent on a parade of local talent shows and auditions, and eventually broke into the digital space with song covers on YouTube.
It was during these early years that Chlöe first learned that the entertainment industry could be unforgiving to those who didn’t fit a particular beauty standard. Despite the then three-year-old snagging a role as the younger version of Beyoncé’s character, Lilly, in Fighting Temptations, casting agents requested that her natural locs be exchanged for more Eurocentric tresses. Ironic, considering that growing up Chlöe saw her hair as no different than that of her peers. “I remember specifically in pre-K we had to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a regular straight ponytail, like how I would put my locs in a ponytail,” she says. “I just never saw myself any different.”
Chlöe would also learn the true meaning of a phrase that would later become an affirmation posted on her bedroom mirror: “Don’t Let the World Dim Your Light.” After attempting to wear wigs to fit in, the Bailey sisters instead chose to rock their locs with pride, which undoubtedly cost them casting roles. Yet they would have the last laugh when making headlines as the “Teen Dreadlocked Duo” who landed a million-dollar contract with Parkwood Entertainment, and the coveted opportunity to be groomed under the tutelage of a world-renowned superstar.
Credit: Derek Blanks
While that could be the end of a beautiful fairytale of self-empowerment, the reality is that it’s just the beginning of the story of her evolution. For most girls, the transition into womanhood takes place in the comfort of their own worlds, often limited to the number of people they allow to have access to them. But for Chlöe, it’s happening in front of millions of critiquing eyes just waiting for an opportunity to either uplift or dissect her through unwarranted commentary.
Many in her position wouldn’t be able to take that kind of pressure. But Chlöe is handling it with grace. “I feel like all of us as humans, we have the right to interpret things how we want,” she says. “I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
Chlöe isn’t the first artist to receive criticism for her carnal content, and she certainly won’t be the last. In 2010, Ciara writhed and rode her way to banishment on BET when the then 24-year-old released her video for “Ride.” In 2006, 25-year-old Beyoncé received backlash for “Déjà Vu."
"I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
So much so that over 5,000 fans signed an online petition demanding that her label re-shoot the video because it was “too sexual.” Even 27-year-old Janet didn’t escape critical headlines when she shed her image of innocence for a more risqué appearance with the 1993 release of janet.
It’s almost as if public reproach is a rite of passage for young Black women R&B singers on the road to stardom. Good girls seemingly “go bad” whenever they embrace the depths of their femininity, and fans only like you on top figuratively. But Chlöe has learned not to bow down to other people’s opinions, but to boss up and control the narrative. As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. If sex appeal is her weapon, she wields it well.
On set, Chlöe exudes the energy of Aphrodite in an apple red, off-shoulder dress with a sexy high split. In between shots, she mouths the lyrics to Yebba’s “Boomerang” as it echoes throughout the space in steady repetition at my recommendation. The hour grows late, yet Chlöe is heating things up as eyes stare in deep mesmerization of the girl on fire.
Credit: Derek Blanks
Through music, she explores the depths of her being, a journey that seems to be, at its foundation, rooted in self-discovery. Whereas their debut album The Kids Are Alright (2018) boasts a young Chloe x Halle empowering their generation to embrace who they are while finding their place in the world, their second album Ungodly Hour (2020) shows the Bailey sisters shedding the veil of innocence for a more unapologetic bravado.
What fans looked forward to seeing is who Chlöe shows herself to be on her debut solo album In Pieces. In an interview with PEOPLE, she confesses that releasing her first project without her sister was “scary.” "It was a moment of self-doubt where I was like, 'Can I do this without my sister?’”
Chlöe has never been shy about sharing her insecurities or her vulnerabilities, all of which are laced throughout the 14-track album. “I want people to have fun when they listen to it and to just realize that they're not alone and it's okay to be vulnerable and raw and open because none of us are perfect; we're all far from it. And I think it's healing when we all admit to that instead of putting up a facade.”
The gift of time has given the self-professed “big lover girl” more encounters with romance and heartbreak. Love songs once sung for their beautiful riffs and melodies become more than just abstract lyrics and are replaced by real-life experiences, which she tells me is definitely in the music.
In her single “Pray It Away,” for example, she contemplates going to God for healing instead of going at her ex-lover for revenge for his infidelities. “With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable,” she says. “I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
Has Chlöe been in love? That still remains to be said. Of course, she’s been linked to a few potential baes, but dating in the digital age isn’t as easy as a double tap or drop of a heart-eyes emoji. It requires a level of trust and vulnerability that’s hard to earn, and easy to mishandle. To let her guard down means to potentially set herself up for disappointment. “It’s difficult dating right now, honestly, because you really have to kind of keep your guard up and pay attention to who's really there for you. And you know, I'm such an affectionate person and I love hard.
"So when I meet the one person that I really, really am into, it's hard for me to see any others and I get attached pretty easily. And you know, I don't know, it's…it's a scary thing.”
Credit: Derek Blanks
“With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable. I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
While broken hearts yield good music (queue Adele), what’s in Chlöe’s prayer is the desire to be happy. What does that look like? Well, she’s still figuring that out herself. “Honestly, I'm the type of person who I don't truly learn unless I experience it. So it's like I can view and watch my parents and watch the loving relationships that I see in my life and be like, ‘Oh, I want that. I would love to have that.’ But then I also have to experience [love] on my own and see what my flaws or my faults might be or see what my good things about myself are. I feel like it's really all about self-reflection. And even though our base is our family and that's our foundation, we are still our own individuals and we have to find out specifically the things about ourselves that may be different from what we saw from our parents when we were growing up.”
Her ideal beau, she tells me, is someone she can feel safe to be her fun, goofy self with, but who also gives her the space to be the boss chick chasing her dreams. A man who understands that just because the world compliments her doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear those words from his lips or feel it in his touch. A bonus if he shows up on set after a long hard day of work with vegan cinnamon rolls. You know, the basic necessities. “I like whoever I'm with to constantly tell me they love me and that I look beautiful because I do the same. I am a very mushy person, and if I see something or you look good, I will never shy away from saying it out loud. And I want whoever I'm with to do the same, be very vocal. Tell me that you love me. Tell me what you love about me because I'm doing the same for you because that's just the person I am.”
Until she meets her match she’s married to the game, and for now, that seems to be perfect matrimony.
Credit: Derek Blanks
On stage at the 2021 American Music Awards, Chlöe solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with. It was a full-circle moment. In 2012, bright-eyed and baby-faced Chloe and Halle would walk onto the set of The Ellen Degeneres Show and blow the audience away as they bellowed out their future mentor’s song. Ellen would present the sisters with tickets to attend the AMAs, assuring them that they would be back and had a promising future. Nine years later, Chlöe descends from the sky cloaked in a snow-white cape and matching midriff-baring bodysuit for her debut performance. It’s the first time she’s graced the stage of the very award show that she was once an audience member of.
As she shakes and shimmies and boom kack kacks out her eight counts, it’s clear that she’s in her element. Just like her VMA performance a couple of months prior, and the many more stages she’ll continue to grace, she brings an energy that has earned her comparisons to the beloved Queen Bey herself. An honorable statement, considering few R&B songstresses are getting accolades for their entertainment capabilities. It’s on these very stages, in front of hundreds of astonished eyes and millions more glued to their televisions at home, that she tells me she feels most sexy. Powerful, even.
But off stage, it’s a different story.
It’s more than just the commentary about her image and media-flamed rumors that get to her. Mentally, she’s in competition with herself. The desire to be the best burns at the back of her mind with every performance, every production, and every time she steps into the booth. Before, she could share the weight of this burden with her sister. Being a part of a duo meant she could turn to Halle for quiet confirmation and encouragement without a word being exchanged. But lately stepping on the stage means stepping out on her own. And despite being a breathtaking, five-time Grammy-nominated star, Chlöe doesn’t escape the reality that sometimes we can be our own worst critics.
Over the last year, she’s been coming to terms with who she is on her own while overcoming the fear of failing to become who she’s destined to be. While the world waits to see how Chlöe wins, the real triumph is in every day that she chooses herself and continues to walk in her purpose. “I don't really have anything all figured out, honestly. But what I try to do, a lot of prayer. I talk to God more and I just try to do things that calm my mind down and just breathe.”
To whom much is given, much will be required. She’s been chosen to walk this path for a reason. Once she fully embraces that everything she’s meant to be is already inside of her, she’ll be an unstoppable force. “My grandma, Elizabeth, she just passed away and my middle name is her [first] name. So I feel like I truly have a responsibility to live up to her legacy that she's left on this earth. I hope I can do that.”
There’s no doubt that she will. With a role in The Fighting Temptations at three years old, a million-dollar record deal, a main role on five seasons of Grown-ish, five Grammy nominations, a number one solo record in Urban and Rhythmic Radio, a debut solo album, and starring roles in recently released movies Praise Thisand Swarm (just to name a few), Chlöe’s certainly already made her mark, and she’s just getting started.
Photographer & Creative Director: Derek Blanks
Executive Producer: Necole Kane
Co-Executive Producer: EJ Jamele
Producer: Erica Turnbull
Digitech: Chris Keller
DP: Alex Nikishin
Gaffer: Simeon Mihaylov
Photo Assistant: Chris Paschal
2nd Photo Assistant: Tyler Umprey
Features Editor: Kiah McBride
Special Projects: Tyeal Howell
Hair: Malcolm Marquez
Makeup: Yolonda Frederick
Fashion Styling: Ashley Sean Thomas
For More: Cover Story: Issa Rae Comes Full Circle
Finding Your Perfect Match: A Guide To Sex Toy Shopping
Have you ever walked into a sex toy store and didn’t know what the hell to buy because everything looked fun and intimidating all at once? Sex toy stores are a vibrator overload; there are pink ones, twirling ones, remote-controlled ones, and ones that look like penises. Can you say overwhelming? As a former sex store employee, I can’t begin to tell you how many customers I would see walk into my store with that “deer in headlights” look on their faces. I mean, I get it–there are sex toys EVERYwhere!
And all of them claim to have promising features designed to take your pleasure to the next level. I loved working at the sex store, mainly because I love all things sex toys, and secondly, I absolutely loved helping the customers that came into our store find their perfect match. I made it my personal mission to make sure each and every customer left feeling more informed and less nervous than they did before entering. When shopping for a new sex toy, there's a lot to consider. With so many options, it can be hard to decide which option is best on your own– especially if you are new to this scene– but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
A sex toy purchase should be a well-thought-out decision. Before you even set foot in a store, there are things you must ask yourself, such as what you want from your new toy. Will the toy be used with a partner? Decide whether you wish to purchase your vibrator in-store or online, the materials you prefer, and the price range. Knowing what you’re looking for beforehand can save you both time and money. But don't worry, you're not in this alone.
Consider me your personal sex toy Fairy Godmother who's here to hold your hand every step of the way. And by holding your hand, I mean I’ve created my own “how to” guide just for you below.
Know Your Needs:
Whether you’re buying your first sex toy or adding to your collection, it's essential to understand what you want. Are you looking for something to use solo or with a partner? Do you prefer clitoral or G-spot stimulation? Or do you crave something that can do all the work for you? Once you’ve identified your needs, it becomes easier to narrow down your choices when shopping.
Research Is Key:
Before walking into a store or making a purchase online, take some time to research the toy you want. Check the reviews and the product description to know what others have to say about the product. This is important since the experience of others can help you make an informed decision.
Set a Budget:
Sex toys come in different price ranges, so it's always a good idea to set a budget. It's easy to get carried away and overspend, but it's important to remember that expensive doesn't always mean better.
Size Does Matter:
Sex toys come in different sizes, shapes, and textures, so finding one that fits your body and preferences is vital. Don't be afraid to pick it up, feel the texture of the material, and read the product’s measurements to ensure you make the right choice.
Ask for Help:
Sex toy shops have amazing assistants that are always ready to help you make a decision. They can provide you with informative suggestions while ensuring your privacy is maintained. Don't hesitate to ask them about the products' features, how to use them, and how to clean them.
Sex toy stores are not scary places. Remember to take some time to understand your desires, do your research, set a budget, know what size you prefer, and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Sex toys can be a game-changer for your sexual experience, and with these tips, you'll be on the path to finding your perfect match.
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Featured image by dima_sidelnikov/Getty Images