- The cultivation of self-love can, at times, be challenging. Whether it's toxic relationships with others or that persecutory inner-voice that's constantly lending self-criticism to our (already) chaotic lives — we're too hard on ourselves. When we're driven by a desire to excel and do everything right, we must remember to engage in self-nurturing practices to liberate our consciousness.
- As many psychology studies can attest to, self-love and self-healing are key to keeping depression and anxiety at bay from our mental health and well-being. Self-love advocate and Founder of Curvy, Curly, Conscious, Shelah Marie, has created a community for millions of women of color to take back control of their self-love journeys. By sharing her desire to elevate our community by "coming together and encouraging frank conversations," Shelah Marie strives to teach Black women the art of letting go and reaching the next level of our inner-knowledge towards self-care.
I had the pleasure to speak with Shelah Marie on how she discovered her path towards self-healing, what lessons Black women can learn from her self-love teachings, and why it's important to overcome toxic relationships in order to liberate ourselves.
Check out our exclusive interview with Shelah Marie below.
21Ninety: How did you discover your path towards self-healing? What inspired you to create a community movement dedicated to self-love and liberation?
Shelah Marie: My path towards self-healing happened organically, I was depressed and anxious and I kept running into the same type of toxic relationships. At my lowest point, I decided I didn’t want to live like that anymore and I committed to self-healing. Along the way, I started to share things that worked for me via social media, and before I knew it I had this huge community of women who were on a similar journey.
Photo: Shelah Marie / Latoya Osborne
21N: For Black women striving to improve their mental health, what can they expect to gain by joining your tribe?
SM: They can expect a space full of open-minded, growth-focused women of color who are all looking to live the highest version of themselves. We provide in-person events, online resources, and a retreat every summer. Our community is Hennessy meets Namaste, we do self-work but we also don't take ourselves too seriously.
21N: What daily affirmations do you say to yourself to keep you committed to self-love?
SM: I am worthy of giving and receiving love.
Photo: Shelah Marie / Joey Rosado
21N: In addition to starting an online community of webinars and YouTube videos, You are also the Founder of Curvy, Curly, Conscious — an empowering and safe place where women of color can connect, commune, and embark on their paths to self-love and care. What are some lessons you teach to members who register for your events?
SM: I’m a translator in a sense. I take information about healing, meditation, and self-work and then I translate it into a voice my community can connect to. That is also why I recorded my own Meditation Mixtape. Women that work with me learn to trust themselves more, they develop a heightened sense of intuition, they have a stronger sense of self and they learn how to let go of beliefs, thoughts or stories that no longer serve them.
Photo: Shelah Marie / Tracey-Renée Hubbard
21N: What has been the most rewarding aspect — as an entrepreneur — since launching Curvy, Curly, Conscious (CCC)?
SM: Two things: The first is realizing the impact CCC has on women. I have thousands of testimonials where women say, “this event changed my life,” or “I never felt so accepted by a group of Black women before,” or “I haven't spoken to my mom in years but after our meditation, she called me out of the blue.” Really coming to terms with the fact that we provide a space for women to change their own lives is a true honor for me. The second most rewarding aspect is my lifestyle. I almost exclusively work with women, I get to create events and programs that inspire me, that I’m proud of and that provide much-needed healing for women. I have flexibility in my schedule and I get to travel and meet new people all the time. I am most proud that I created a work life to sustain the lifestyle I had always envisioned for myself.
Photo: Shelah Marie / Latoya Osborne
21N: Beginning February 25th, you will lead a 5-Days of Mindfulness Challenge — on our 21Ninety Daily Newsletter — to provide Black women with essential tips on how to be more mindful in their everyday lives. What are some self-aligning topics you intend to discuss during the challenge?
SM: I’m keeping it simple and giving very easy tips for how to invite more mindfulness into your life. I’m sharing my favorite meditations, a very simple gratitude practice, and a new nighttime/morning ritual that will help you stay more centered.
21N: On your website, you courageously revealed a time in your life when you were involved in an abusive relationship with a man. Since then, you have found a new man who is ready to grow and prosper with you. Can you describe the soul-searching that women must overcome in order to free themselves from toxic relationships?
SM: At the most basic level, someone can only love you to the extent that you love yourself. Someone can only be honest with you if you are honest with yourself. Someone can only be loyal to you if you are first loyal to yourself. Being free from toxic relationships means you have to do the uncomfortable task of examining your relationship with yourself. Not blaming or shaming yourself, but being honest about what part of you attracted this situation and why. It’s fundamentally important to work through why toxic relationships are a part of your life. Did you see that modeled in your house as a child? Are you repeating old patterns? What needs to heal in order for this to shift? What really helped me during this period of my life was a combination of talk therapy, energy healing, meditation, and reading.
Photo: Shelah Marie / Latoya Osborne
21N: What are some books, workshops, and events that you recommend to teach Black women about themselves?
SM: Obviously, I am going to say attend anything CCC produces because I love our events & online offerings! Beyond that, anything produced my Course For The Culture, I have a course with them but there are many great courses and a podcast also. Some of my favorite books are The Four Agreements and A Return to Love. Oprah's Masterclasses are a great resource, as well.
21N: Are there any projects you are currently working on? What can we expect to see from you in 2019?
SM: This is an exciting year for me, I will be launching a meditation audio course in May and a monthly Online Meditation Circle for women of color in March. Details are being released soon, join my mailing list at shelahmarie.com to stay in the loop.
21N: Do you have any final words of advice or encouragement for Black women seeking self-love and self-acceptance?
SM: Go easy on yourself. In my experience, I find that Black women are so hard on ourselves. Many of us are first generation healers, we are doing what our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers did not have the opportunity to do. Healing is not a luxury — it’s your right. You deserve it.
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