Many cultures instruct Black women and girls to prioritize others. Therefore, self-love is uncommon.
We don't have time for ourselves since we are too busy caring for our family and "community." Self-care is often neglected.
Historically, black women have been undervalued. And it raises questions like, “Why should I appreciate myself if society doesn't?”
Why? Because we are important. We are strong, gorgeous, and completely badass. Loving ourselves is crucial.
We are forced to maintain the warrior stance that the Amazons used. According to Zora Neale Hurston, "Earth's mules are black women.” Really? I find it very easy to embrace the idea of the "powerful Black woman" with superpowers when I consider the evidence and the way we are portrayed in the media. We tell people, "Don't worry; I'll handle [this]," even though we're feeling stressed.
We are strong yet also fallible. We can't help ourselves or others if we're fatigued. We do worse when we are overburdened and perpetually occupied. So, asking for help is crucial—even if it is frightening. We all worry about being rejected and judged, and we fear that the individual we want to assist us won't comprehend or take us seriously.
First, we need to understand that even if we are misunderstood or rejected, everything will be fine. People may judge us, but we'll be fine. Non-acceptance is not fatal. Though it may be painful, it’s often not the worst-case scenario.
And it's just one option among many.
Many people will want to help us if we ask for it. Before calling someone for help, practice your response. Take a deep breath when the time is right, then speak slowly and clearly. Seeking assistance is often stigmatized under the guise that “Black women should be able to manage all that life throws at us.” Despite the clear, huge flaw in that stereotype, it is so culturally ingrained that it can be difficult to overcome.
It will take some courage and fortitude to fight back against it, but the sooner we do, the better for everyone. We can't do everything ourselves, something our mind, bodies and overall health will remind us soon enough.
So to prevent the ills of overburden, we must practice self-love and carve out time for ourselves by learning to say "no." It helps to practice. An ideal objective is to decline one request per day. We improve at saying "no" each time we do it. Before we know it, we have time to concentrate on ourselves because our plates are only half full. Wise people all across the world say, "When you say no to someone, you're saying yes to yourself."
As a whole, we don't tell ourselves "yes" enough.
Our mental health is in danger as Black women. So, say, "no." Also, we must speak up for ourselves much more often.
Many of us have not been taught how to speak up. We're taught how to handle conflict, but not how to speak the truth. As teenagers, how did we respond to questions about how we were? “Ah, I'm okay,” or "I'm fine."
Historically, self-expression is discouraged in our culture. We weren't trained to express our emotions as young girls, so we don't now. Adults told us to be quiet and to stay in a child’s place, just as they were taught themselves. As such, mental health is undervalued by our seniors. They assert that we don't require therapy.
Imposter syndrome is another issue we deal with. Black women frequently discuss it, especially moms. They inquire frequently, "Am I a sufficient mother? How do I perform?"
The best way to change that inner conversation is by practicing compassion for others. That will make practicing compassion second-nature and much simpler to extend to ourselves simpler.
How do we see Black women and ourselves? For some Black women, wearing full face makeup is a necessity. It is frowned upon for women to wear bonnets in public. Women should be free to admire a sister without passing judgment on her attractiveness. It's unfair to judge people who wear bonnets to keep their hair in place or to adhere to the ideal of white beauty. Every stage and experience is different for each of us.
Let's not make each other feel inferior. “Look, she thinks she looks good," black girls will frequently exclaim. What's wrong with wanting to look good? Why not say, "You look good," instead?
We need to challenge our own assumptions and self-perceptions. According to bell hooks, "We can influence other Black people even though we are indoctrinated to reflect white supremacist values and attitudes." Because we internalize oppression and turn it against one another, Black women can sometimes be cruel to one another.
If we accept ourselves, we may show compassion for others without using prejudices like race or class.
Another flaw is the propensity to minimize compliments. Why are we unable to be self-assured and express it without feeling guilty? Promoting regular self-love is challenging to understand if we're not used to putting our needs first.
We first take care of ourselves before we can serve others. Our voices as Black women carry a tremendous amount of weight. Being aware that our actions and voices matter is essential for everyone of us.