Mary J Blige "learned to be happy" and "enjoy her own company" following her divorce from Martin Isaacs.
The 48-year-old singer split from her former manager after 14 years of marriage in July 2016, and the pair finally had their union officially dissolved two years later in March 2018.
And the R&B legend has now revealed that she "turned a corner" when she got her divorce because it taught her to "thrive" and be "content" with herself.
She said: "I think I turned that corner when I got my divorce. I think that I realised that no matter what comes to me, no matter how big or bad it is, I have to keep moving, I have to keep living.
"I said, 'No, I'm not going to stay in this marriage. I'm out of here.' That's what thriving is about.
"I'm very content, and I'm happy with myself. I learned to be happy with just Mary, just enjoying my own company, me by myself most of the time. I'm grateful.
"To be able to touch people with what you've gone through and pull them though...The sadness makes me happy almost. I can't even describe it."
And Mary would tell her younger self to not be "afraid" of her imperfections because people will "love her" eventually for them.
She told PEOPLE: "If I could tell my younger self something, I would tell her don't be afraid of your imperfections, because one day people are going to love you for them.
The 'Family Affair' hitmaker tries to keep a healthy body and mind to keep herself "out of trouble".
She added: "I try to keep my mind positive, I stay working out, I try to eat right and treat people right.
"I have fun too, don't get it twisted, I go out with my friends, I laugh, I joke, I have wine. I do all of that.
"It's not easy, it's hard doing the right thing all the time, but if this is going to keep me out of trouble, I choose this. I don't let anything get the best of me."
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