Why“Be willing to share all of who you are. So many of us want a partner, but we’re not willing to show all of us. That’s why we have a weave, we’re wearing Spanx and everything is ‘fine.’ If you’re not willing to let your partner see your cellulite or know your biggest fears, then you aren’t really ready to share yourself…” –Iyanla Vanzant

In an age when table toppling and drink throwing have almost become a standard on television, life coach and television phenom Iyanla Vanzant entertains through empowerment and enlightens with love on her hit series, Iyanla, Fix My Life, on OWN. The Brooklyn-born former single mother of three on welfare, who once had dreams of becoming a nurse, has now become a spiritual adviser, counselor and healer to women and men around the world with her soothing balm of life lessons and no-nonsense knowledge. Here, she shares with ESSENCE readers her ten secrets to finding real and lasting happiness—and tells us why she will always have a reason to smile. The February issue of ESSENCE hits stands on 1/11. For more on this issue, visit  ESSENCE.com. –Essence


From a personal standpoint I can relate regarding hair. When I first met my man almost 4 years ago I was still dealing with my own insecurities regarding texture and was rocking a 4a weave at the time. I have been 6 years natural and two years into my natural hair journey I had enough and decided to give my hair a rest from weaves by twisting my hair when he went home to visit his family. I just so happened to make this hair changing move two months after dating my man. When he came back he absolutely LOVED my hair and was boggled by my insecurities, but truth be told if he didn’t I was at a point in my life where a transition was taking place, called love concerning my own hair and I was tired of altercations due to fear of others opinions.

Now I am not saying every woman who wears a weave is insecure, especially in a time and age where weaves can be utilized as a great protective style if worn properly (I like to think of a weave as a temporary curly haired hat) but for my-self it was definitely a different story. The weave in my case was a physical reflection of my insecurities, symbolizing a cocoon encasing the real beauty inside. When the cocoon released many other parts of me begin to flourish which I never knew existed. I know some may be thinking, “WOW all this happened because of hair” but just as casually as someone can say “hair is just hair” for many, many others hair holds deep wounds, inflicting a self-conscious pain that may hold an individual back on what makes them beautifully unique because they are so focused on their insecurities.

I definitely now can look back and find some of my actions amusing in what I felt I had to hide in stifling my hair regimen in order to please a man, including my night time routine of wearing a scarf daily and rocking styles I thought appeased others because the styles I have always been attracted to were never of the “norm”.  For some hair is just hair and there is nothing wrong with that but for me loving everything about myself including my hair catapulted other changes in my life including health, creative productivity, friendships and finding someone who loved all of me only because I loved all of myself!

What do you think of Iyanla’s advice?