If you haven't already seen, for Women's History Month, I wanted to spend some time focusing on the most important Black woman in most our lives, ourselves. As Black women, we are expected to be everything for everyone, without the space, time and energy to be that for ourselves. The misconception, is that we must fulfill this predetermined role.
What I've learned along my journey of self thus far, is that the more we take care of ourselves, the more we'll have to pour into others, if we so choose. Given that selflessness is not a requirement of Black womanhood. While we cannot pour from an empty glass, it is important for us to find ways, that we can fill and refill our glass ourselves. Even more important, is that we learn ourselves enough, to understand what fills our glass at all, and learn to love ourselves through the journey.
Throughout the course of March, I will be talking through ways that we can celebrate, love on, and honor ourselves. So to start, I want to talk about intentional self-love. Through understanding what you love about yourself, utilizing self-affirmations, and loving all parts of yourself.
My ongoing journey of self, made me realize, that not only did I not know myself, but I didn't love myself. I wrapped what I perceived to be my self-worth, into how close I was to the capitalistic idea of success. The higher I climbed, the more worthy I felt of existence. What took a shift here, was questioning everything.
For the past two years, I've been greeting everything, and all that's "supposed" to be with "says who," and "why?" When I understood the notion that my life, is literally what I make it to be, is when I started to search for purpose, and alignment. Then I started to understand, who I was, what I liked, what made me me, and what I do best.
Within that, the most important portion, is learning to love yourself. Unfortunately, I can't give you a step by step guide on it, given that everyone's journey looks differently. There also isn't a single thing that you can do to achieve self-love, yet more like a series. It's a journey without a destination, because the journey itself is the destination. Its a journey that may be most reminiscent of one with a stranger that becomes a partner. You learn to understand why they are who they are, why they do what they do, what they stand for at the essence of their being, and then you fall in love with them. I can't speak for other women on this, but this is what my journey was/is like.
So again, I can't give you a magic formula, but to start you can create a list of everything that you love about yourself. They can be "simple" like the texture of your hair, or something more involved, like the way you deal with conflict. Keep writing this list, until you feel like it has captured everything.
It's okay to write this list over a period of time, and it's okay to struggle writing the list. What's important here, is putting some intention towards its creation. Often times, we take a magnifying glass to the things we may dislike about ourselves, while taking a blind eye to the amazing things that we do. Writing this list, can help for us to physically see how amazing you truly are, and hopefully it can help you to believe it.
Self-affirmations, have been a bit of a buzz word among the wellness community lately. Self-affirmations to me, are mantras, or a series of phrases that we can say to ourselves, to try to help actualize our brilliance.
What I now know to be true, is that the tongue is extremely powerful, and it's important to say what you mean, and mean what you say. Constantly telling yourself that you are ugly, fat, and unworthy, manifests itself into your spirit. You will internalize the words you speak to yourself unconsciously. Therefore, self-affirmations, are the opposite of the nasty words we call ourselves.
They speak light, life, and positivity into us. They are our subtle reminders that we deserve all the blessings we attract, that we are worthy of all that comes our way, unless it doesn't serve us, and that we are able to literally do anything that we can dream up. They are the reminder that the not even the sky is the limit.
While I'd love to list my favorite mantras or affirmations for you all, I'd love to challenge you all to create some that work for you, and your lifestyle. Sometimes, I simply look in the mirror like "you're the baddest and nobody could ever take that from you, you are brilliant, a gem, and a light that is ready to receive and manifest."
Some times, I need a heavier pep talk, and the conversation is a bit triller. When determining what to say, I'd start with that list of things that you love about yourself. Or praise yourself for how far you've come, and all yo'v done. Then maybe move into some wins from the previous day. Another aspect to look at, could be where you lack confidence, and speak life into yourself that way. One thing that helps me when saying affirmations is to literally say it to my face. Therefore, I say my affirmations to myself in the mirror.
I've said it before, but self-affirmations, have helped me to not only celebrate and honor myself, but to become happy and present in my now.
As I mentioned earlier, its so easy for us to recognize, and continuously focus, on the things that we may dislike about ourselves. The glass half full of this, is that understanding what you "don't like" about yourself, is the first step towards changing it.
From another perspective though, knowing that it's an area of improvement for you, can give you the space to come to grips with it. Which allows for you to then own that thang, making others unable to shame you for it. Its like when comedians make jokes about themselves first, so that your's holds no weight.
Loving all the pieces of you, is something that comes along with understanding yourself, as a being who is human, and imperfect. Try stripping yourself of all should's. I should be climbing the corporate ladder, I should have six figures in my bank account, I should be a size four, because the only "standard" you should be living your life by, is your own. Which comes from the idea of how you want your life to be, in relationship to your purpose, wants, needs and dreams. Once you cancel those pretend expectations for your life, it'll make it easier for you to love all the pieces of yourself, and along your journey.
Utilize this information as a starting point, or help along to become intentional about your self-love journey! Let's recap your homework sis: 1.) Start an ongoing list of things that you love about yourself 2.) Determine a list of self-affirmations, and practice saying them in the mirror 3.) Love on yourself and allow for yourself to be human! This is a never-ending journey, but it is one allows for you to become 100% in love and in tune with who you are.