key to success

on people pleasing

All of my life I’ve only ever been able to feel truly happy when all who surround me are happy as well. I am a bonafide people-pleaser. Some may even go as far as to just call it like it is: codependency. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, codependency is defined by Darlene Lancer, MFT, as, “underdeveloped self-esteem (dysfunctional boundaries) combined with an inappropriate caring for others (invading a boundary), and an inappropriate reliance on another’s response (having poor boundaries), in a negatively reinforcing loop.”

People-pleasers put everyone else’s needs before their own. Now, when displayed in a healthy way selflessness is an amazing trait! Yet, for codependents it is less about selflessness and more about an unhealthy need to make sure all of those around us are taken care of and satisfied. Underneath everything is fear of rejection and a yearning for outside validation. It’s about wanting constant approval from others and the overwhelming desire to be wanted and needed.

If you are reading and wondering if this describes you, here are a few warning signs to be looking for in your own life:

Self-neglect. As the tendency to people-please works its way back into our lives, one trademark sign is the tendency to neglect ourselves in order to care for others. By that I mean, We lose track of our own needs, own dreams, own happiness. We lose sight of the things that matter most to us, and set them aside to make sure everyone else is happy.

The need to say “yes” every time. This one stems from the need for constant validation. People-pleasers fear that if they say no they will be looked upon less favorably. We love feeling capable and needed, so we say yes to one more thing, one more favor. We overcommit, give away too much of our time and, to be honest, are often in serious risk of being manipulated and walked over by the stronger personalities among us.

Excessive stress about the well-being of others. Empathy is truly a beautiful thing, but there is a fine line between empathy and codependency, and the people-pleaser walks that line constantly. Of course, we want our friends and family to be happy. Of course, our hearts are saddened when they are going through a hard time. Of course, we want to love them well and help them get better. However, empathy and concern become unhealthy when we move from genuine love and care to finding ourselves overstressed and overanxious about the needs of others.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a loving, selfless and helpful friend or family member. But, for those of us who struggle with codependency we need to realize that we simply cannot control the happiness of those around us. We can, however, make the choice to be happy within ourselves. We can set boundaries, learn to say no and be attentive to our own needs and desires. When we are taking care of ourselves like this we have so much more energy and love to pour out to others in a healthy way.

Because, at the end of the day, isn’t that every (recovering) people-pleaser’s dream?

article found and shared via Darling Magazine


the deeper business of being beautiful inside

Lupita Nyongo’s Oscars speech gave me chills. I wanted to share her beautiful words with you here and hope you’re equally inspired!

I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: “Dear Lupita,” it reads, “I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.”

My heart bled a little when I read those words. I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.

I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I had been the day before. I tried to negotiate with God: I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted; I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.

And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no consolation: She’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then Alek Wek came on the international scene. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden, Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me. When I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty, but around me the preference for light skin prevailed. To the beholders that I thought mattered, I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me, “You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.” And these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.

And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master, but it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even after the beauty of her body has faded away.

And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade to that beauty.

orange harp

launch i love: orange harp

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with two smart and inspiring female entrepreneurs, Anbu Anbalagapandian and Kacie Gonzalez. These women founded Orange Harp, a mobile app that is a curated marketplace of handpicked, socially conscious brands. The brands are not only reducing their carbon footprint, but are shattering the misconception that conscious products are boring or unstylish. The app is beautiful and easy to use and is updated on a weekly basis with new partners and products. One of my favorite {dream!} items is this insanely beautiful, handmade labradorite druzy wing necklace {pictured above} from Love and Piece Jewelry. I also discovered the L.A.-based designer Jessica Faulkner and love her mindful products, especially the Sabrina tank!

The coolest thing {in my opinion} is that not only can you buy products right from the app, but you can learn about the different brands and their founders. Each business in Orange Harp is featured in a story, so you learn more about the individuals who created the product itself.

I’m constantly deleting apps from my phone, but Orange Harp is one that I think you won’t regret downloading and keeping on your phone. I know I’ve been checking it every few days to keep discovering socially good products and purchase {soon!}. If you want an account, email with subject POLISH MY CROWN and they will give you instant access to the app. XO!


orange harp

you are amazing

healthy habits for every girl, part 5

41. Always, always, always wear a seatbelt—even in a taxi.
This one should be self-explanatory.

42. Wash your hands often.
It sounds obvious,  but washing your hands really is the best way to avoid getting sick.According to Microbe World, we all carry millions of microbes on our hands (um, yuck.) While most are harmless, we can pick up some that cause illnesses, such as colds, flu, and diarrhea. When we forget to wash our hands, or don’t wash them properly, we can spread these germs to others, or give them to ourselves by touching our eyes, mouths, noses or cuts on our bodies. The best way to wash? Use soap and water for about 15 seconds (or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.) For extra protection, use a paper towel to open the bathroom door after washing.

43. Go on a social media diet.
This is a big one, ladies. According to science, our dependence on social media means we’re more lonely, narcissistic, and depressed than ever before. Which is why but limiting your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest intake could lessen anxiety, boost your self-esteem, and eradicate pesky FOMO (here’s a handy guide that shows you how to limit all things social.) Plus, it’s key to remember that all this stuff is ultimately making us less connected. Texting and tweeting are two of the most impersonal ways of communicating—it’s low intensity, and it requires low commitment on the part of both parties—while Facebook just makes us voyeuristic, not social.

44. Optimize your fertility if you plan on having kids. 
Unless you’re actively trying to get pregnant, there’s no need to go overboard, but as women, it pays to pay attention to research ways in which we can optimize fertility, or at least ways to not harm it. Here’s a good starter guide.

45.  Floss!
Annoying but true: Flossing really matters! According to Web MD, it isn’t so much about removing food debris as it is about removing dental plaque, the complex bacterial ecosystem that forms on tooth surfaces between cleanings. Plaque is what causes tooth decay, inflamed gums (gingivitis), periodontal disease, and eventually tooth loss. Flossing or using an interdental cleaner is the only effective way to remove plaque between teeth.

46. Sneeze into your arm, not your palm.
We’re told as kids to cover our mouth when we sneeze, but it’s actually way more sanitary to sneeze into your sleeve, which lessens the amount of spreadable germs.

47. Stash snacks.
Keep healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, veggies and hummus, or Greek yogurt at work so you won’t feel the need to run to Starbucks at 3 p.m. for a Venti one-way ticket to calorieville.

48. Shop on a full stomach.
Never go grocery shopping when you’re super-hungry. Why? Because everything looks good, so you’ll undoubtedly start throwing in items you normally would never buy.

49. Learn to take constructive criticism.
Obviously, petty criticism shouldn’t be tolerated, but if someone’s taking the time to try to tell you that what you’re doing could be more effective, let them. Lessening your defenses is a healthy habit that’ll pay off in the long run at work, at home, and in relationships.

50. Never let Google diagnose you. 
Guess what? Google may be a genius, but it’s not a doctor, and therefore has no power to accurately diagnose you. Do yourself a favor and see an IRL physician before you convince yourself you have scurvy or Scarlet Fever when you really have a tiny cold.

healthy living tips #1-10 here, #11-20 here, #21-30 here, #31-40 here, full article here.