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Iyanla Vanzant made an appearance at this year’s ESSENCE Fest, hitting the Empowerment Stage to drop gems on self-care and learning how to manage difficult thoughts.

Pointing to the deaths of Robin Williams, Kate Spade, and Anthony Bourdain, Vanzant told the crowd, “Validate what you’re thinking. If you feel bad and you have that thought, think it, just don’t dwell in it.”

Vanzant encouraged those having a tough time to reach out and added that those hoping to offer help should learn to be present. 

“We have to learn how to sit with people in their pain,” Vanzant said. “You don’t have to do anything about it, but you have to learn how to be present with someone who’s hurting. So very often we won’t let people hurt in our presence because it makes us uncomfortable, so we try to talk them out of their pain…We have to learn how to be with each other in our pain because too many of us are suffering.”