Mary J. Blige, Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress, is one of my all-time favorite singers. After selling more than 50 million albums, she’s attracted fans all over the world. Fans are drawn to her willingness to be transparent about her ups and downs.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the My Life album, considered to be her most influential collection of songs, the documentary My Life was released. As Mary talked about the inspiration behind the album and its impact on her life, I realized she was giving us a lesson in self-care. I grabbed a notebook and started to feverishly jot down a few notes.
Here are 5 of the gems I learned:
It’s Ok to not be Ok.
“When you’re feeling down you should never fake it”. It’s ok to not be ok. Too often we put on masks and a strong face. That’s a heavy weight to carry. May we feel more encouraged to let it be known when we are feeling down, angry or frustrated. These are normal human emotions and we shouldn’t be ashamed to feel them.
Creative outlets can become your escape.
Mary describes how singing was her escape from the sadness and pain around her. Even if you’re not experiencing the same sadness, completing an activity you enjoy can still be an escape away from work or the daily busyness of life
“An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” Anonymous
Don’t dim your light.
Mary talked about dumbing down and dimming her light in relationships. Our brightness doesn’t darken anyone else’s brightness. Accept your greatness and let the world see it.
Protect your peace.
What brings you peace? There are so many things vying for our attention each and every day. Maybe a hot bath brings you peace. Maybe unplugging from social media brings you peace. Maybe taking a walk in the park brings you peace. Pursue those things that bring you peace and as you find it – protect it.
Not talking about it doesn’t make it go away.
Often we don’t talk about what we’re experiencing or feeling because it’s hard. Instead we bottle up those emotions and eventually it can all snowball. Talk about it Friends. Does this have to mean you share your issues with the world? Nope. There’s so much value in having a trusted confidante or professional who can listen when you need to talk.
Mary J. is dubbed the Queen of Soul and the moniker is a nod to the blending of Hip Hop and R&B found in her music. The nickname is also fitting for the way she shares. She bares her soul, sharing the hard times and the good times in her music and during her live concerts. There are so many self-care lessons we can learn from the My Life documentary, her music, and her life.
Have you picked up any self-care lessons from your favorite singers, actresses/actors, or sports figures? Tell me in the comments below.