Janet Jackson for ESSENCE

Janet Jackson has an intimate message to share with other Black women.

In an ESSENCE cover story exclusive, the music icon pens a letter to her “ESSENCE Sistas” for the magazine’s first-ever “Happiness” issue.

In a piece entitled, Letter From My Heart , the Jackson opens up about some of the lessons she learned from her early struggles with depression and low self-esteem and how she managed her personal journey to finding joy and happiness.

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In Her Childhood: “I was happy when my brothers came home from performing on the road. I was happy when my mother lavished me with love. But I wasn’t happy with the way I looked…”

In Her Teens: “Happiness came when people asked me to perform…but I was happiest when I was pleasing others and not myself. An older and wiser Janet might have said, ‘True happiness is knowing you’re doing the best you can…’”

In Her Thirties: “These were difficult years, when I struggled with depression. The struggle was intense. I could analyze the source of my depression forever. Low self-esteem might be rooted in childhood feelings of inferiority. It could relate to failing to meet impossibly high standards. And of course there are always the societal issues of racism and sexism. Put it all together and depression is a tenacious and scary condition. Thankfully, I found my way through it…”

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Today, at 52: “Now the height of happiness is holding my baby son in my arms and hearing him coo, or when I look into his smiling eyes and watch him respond to my tenderness. When I kiss him. When I sing him softly to sleep. During those sacred times, happiness is everywhere. Happiness is in gratitude to God…”

The July/August issue of the magazine hits newsstands on June 22nd, and you can purchase tickets for Janet Jackon’s upcoming ESSENCE Festival®performance on Sunday July 8th, via ESSENCE.com .

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