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True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself

Janet Jackson has made more of lasting impact on me than any other person outside my family. She’s the reason I survived public school, and she’s the reason I went to college. Janet Jackson inspired me to become a dancer and choreographer. That Ph. D in dance from UCLA that I earned? Yep, that’s because of Miss Jackson (who is very nasty).

I admire her more than most people can truly appreciate. Her album “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” is the blueprint for my life, and its messages influence practically every choice I’ve made as an artist, teacher, and scholar. It informs my identity the way albums by Jimmy Buffet, Pink Floyd, Tupac Shakur, and The Beatles define other men’s sensibilities. Janet Jackson is my John Lennon.

Janet Jackson inspires me

She’s a monolithic force in my life, and a constant presence somewhere in my thoughts. I consider her a friend, even if only from afar. When she shares herself in her music and writing, it’s often like opening a window into my own heart, mind, and soul. Janet has suffered from many of the same types of stress, depression, and body shame issues I have, so reading about the ways she contends with her demons is very inspiring to me. This isn’t a memoir of a celebrity life. It’s a journal about learning to accept oneself. The lessons in it are helpful when I falter.

The Eight Selves: Emotional & Psychological Wellness

In terms of The Eight Modalities of Wellness that undergird INTEGRE8T Wellness, I attach this reading to the heart-mind connection. Learning to understand yourself helps you to clearly define and pursue your goals. The way we see ourselves projects so much onto how we think and behave. It’s impossible to find peace without coming to terms with our fears. Whether you admire Janet or not, this book can offer some insight about the gradual process of showing yourself more compassion.

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Jack Kirven is a mobile personal trainer in Charlotte, NC. He is the owner of INTEGRE8T Wellness.

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