This post is emotionally charged but in the same way also very fruitful. The inspiration for it comes from several things. Two of which include my frustrations of disobeying the very thing I’m writing about and my tweet that ignited this fire. As a result, I wrote this post with a heavy heart but now I want it to serve as a call for action for all my sisters. Black women please put yourself first!
The downside to our greatness
When I think about what black women have had to endure since the beginning of our existence it grieves my soul. Being black and a woman isn’t an easy job. PERIOD. We’re just a different kind of breed and many have failed to walk a mile in our shoes. We have an essence and influence that has impacted almost everything in existence.
Black women have carried the burdens and the heavy loads for generations. I don’t see this ending anytime soon but we’ve honestly have to stat taking it easy. On the frontline of issues concerning the black race, you’ll find the black woman there. Even when that same energy is not reciprocated by our men black women are still on the frontline fighting for their people regardless.
On one hand that’s AMAZING that we’re able to stretch ourselves as it highlights another element of our greatness. But all of what we do is a sacrifice and comes at a hefty price. In all of our black Girl Magic, greatness and glory there is one flaw that is common in most if not all black women. Putting the needs of others before our very own. This self-less act of service is both a blessing and a curse. When there is no balance in serving others it hinders the person doing the serving. I don’t think there is a black woman dead or alive who isn’t guilty of this crime.
Common crimes most black women have committed
- Treating yourself like second best
- Putting your needs, wants or desires on the back burner in order to please others
- Ignoring your intuition in the quest to keep the peace within your family, relationship or friendship circle.
- Being more considerate to others but rarely to yourself
- Often put tradition, culture and family needs before your own
- People pleaser
There are many other things but what I mentioned above seem to be very common. Some of them may even sound very familiar to you. I can only assume you’ve probably done some of those things a million times over before because I know I have.
Since the beginning of time
In saying that the art of putting others first seems to just come naturals to a lot of women especially black women. I might be wrong, but I feel like our upbringing and communities have a strong role to play here. From a very young age, some black girls are reared and socialized in a way that allows such behaviours to develop early on in their childhood. If you’re one of the eldest or only girl children in your family with a lot of responsibilities, then I don’t have to explain this one any further. You either grow up to be super considerate, a people pleaser, selfish or hella resentful.
Unfortunately for me I ended up on the more considerate side of the spectrum. I remember wanting to move away for university and getting talked out of it by my family. I had the burning desire to move but ended up abandoning the idea and giving in to what they believed was best. Although staying in London worked out well for me in the end. I’ll never know if moving away for university would have worked out better.
I was only 18 at the time and I didn’t know much about putting my needs or wants above my family’s. At that age, I still relied heavily on them for their opinions and advice. For a very long time, a lot of my decisions were influenced by my family’s input. But I quickly came to realize that adulthood required me to jump in the driver’s seat and lead the way. I eventually got there (last 3 years) but it took a while to get adjusted and sometimes I still struggle.
Breaking the cycle
Take a moment to think about the black women that you know personally sis. At some point in their life journey, they’ve had to put someone else’s needs and wants before their own. Whether it be to fulfil their role as a mother, wife, significant other, daughter, grandmother, aunt, friend, cousin or sister. In the quest to serve others they most certainly had to neglect themselves in some way shape or form. I know this is true for some of the women that are in my life.
Growing up I saw my mum put herself on the back burner for the needs of her kids and for some individuals who weren’t deserving of it. I grew up thinking that was normal and admired her for it. To me, my mum wore the” strong black woman” crown extremely well. It led me to believe that to be a strong black woman one had to always sacrifice themselves in order to serve others. I eventually ended up imitating my mum and often found some myself in some compromising situations. A classic case of Monkey see, Monkey do.
Changing the narrative
I have now come to UNDERSTAND through painful experience that you can serve others, be considerate of their needs and wants while not compromising your own. I believe that God created everyone to serve others in some sort of capacity. The problem is Black women have over-served to the point where they have tremendously suffered. I don’t want to be that Black woman and sis neither should you. We now have the chance to switch things up and do things much differently than the women in our families.
During our lifetime Black women will wear many different hats, but we no longer have to suffer for doing so. This doesn’t mean that we must now become inconsiderate and selfish it just means we have to be considerate to ourselves and our soul first and foremost in anything that we do.
I know this might be a difficult thing to incorporate into our lives as it will take some time to get used to. But as black women, we can no longer afford to put everyone else before ourselves. In 2019 that way of living is no longer acceptable. Change is hard but change is for the better. Black women can no longer abuse themselves, compromise their integrity and pour from empty cups because we’ll crash and burn faster than the women who came before us.
It’s time for black women to switch things up and below are a few things you can do differently sis;
- Find your voice and when you do use it
- It’s ok to SAY NO
- Set healthy boundaries in different areas of your life
- Honour yourself in ALL ways
- Keep your word as well as promises to yourself
- Learn to say NO
- Stopping letting yourself down
- Be constantly committed to filling up your own cup and only pour out to others from its overflow
- Prioritize YOU
- Be committed to personal happiness, growth and healing
- If something negatively affects you shut it down immediately
- Do the inner work
- Be honest with yourself and your feelings
- Reach for the top. Whatever the top means or represents to you go for it and don’t stop until it you’ve arrived.
- Let go of anything that no longer serves you or your soul.
- Trust yourself, Trust God and Trust Life ALWAYS
Remember, you’ll never reach your goals if you’re trying to be all things to all people. Be all things for yourself before you can be anything for anyone else.
Lots of Love