Mary J. Blige says she had to pay herself 'the highest compliments' in order to get her confidence back

Mary J. Blige spoke to ELLE about how she learned to feel comfortable and confident in her own skin through positive self talk. (Photo: Adrienne Raquel/ELLE)
Mary J. Blige spoke to ELLE about how she learned to feel comfortable and confident in her own skin through positive self-talk. (Photo: Adrienne Raquel/ELLE)

Even music superstars like Mary J. Blige need tricks to boost their confidence.

The "Family Affair" singer, who will perform on stage at the Super Bowl Halftime Show on Feb. 13, spoke to ELLE about how during her tumultuous marriage to Kendu Isaacs, she often relied on positive self-talk in order to stay comfortable in her own skin.

"If you've been beat down mentally by someone, you're never pretty enough," she explained of her relationship with her former manager Isaacs, which ended in 2016 after Blige filed for divorce. "You're never smart enough. Nothing’s ever good enough."

Blige admitted that during that point in her life, she was feeling "so low" that she had to find a strategy to feel good again.

"I had to pay myself the highest compliments, even if I didn’t believe it, just so I could build myself up," Blige told the magazine. "I would do it in the morning, because that's the time when your hair is not done and you don't have on makeup. You're just kind of dealing with yourself for real."

Now, her daily morning affirmations include telling herself, "Good morning, Gorgeous. I love you. I got you. I need you."

This isn’t the only time that the Mudbound actress has spoken about dealing with low self-esteem. In December 2020, she appeared on Taraji P. Henson’s Facebook Watch show Peace of Mind to talk about combating "stinkin' thinking" — her term for the negative thoughts about herself she has inside her head.

"The negative thought life creates a bad day because if you don't get a hold to what you thinkin', everything you do is gonna be what you thinkin'," she told Henson at the time. "So, every single day, every second of the day, we are fighting our thought, but I'm gonna try my hardest to not lie to myself about anything because when we lie to ourselves that’s a form of insanity. You just can't do it ... you've gotta teach that other side that you can't win."

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