Hi Nikki,

I was reading Essence magazine this weekend and became so inspired by the “I Love Being a Black Woman” theme that is a feature of the July issue. I have a four year old daughter and another baby girl on the way, and my biggest wish for their lives is that they love themselves for everything that they are and live fearless and proud in their own skin. It is my honor and challenge to teach them to love themselves unconditionally no matter what influences they face in this world.

Sometimes we get so lost in wanting someone else’s hair or body or success, that we become completely disconnected from our own unique nature. I’ve certainly been guilty of it! I want my hair to curl this way, and my hips to curve that way. I want to have this person’s house or that person’s clothes.

I once read a quote that says “Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep.” So, why do we put ourselves through that? Because we fail to look inside of ourselves for validation and meaning.

I’ve had to learn through much suffering to appreciate my life by exploring the qualities and experiences that are my birthright. Each of us are so uniquely blessed and crafted to offer something to the world that no one else can. Why not honor our individual journeys by hugging every unexpected bend in the road, taking every opportunity to grow, and understanding that what makes us different is what makes us beautiful?

There are so many textures and depths to our beauty. So, don’t compare, contrast or measure your worth to anyone else. Use your strengths, align yourself with your values, do what you love and SHINE.

Peace and blessings,