What Self-Love Looks Like for Black Women
What does self-love look like?
For me, self-love is about acknowledging the fact that I can’t do everything. I’m not super powerful. I do have some unique qualities, and some skills, but I also have weaknesses, and I’m learning to be okay with my weaknesses. My imperfections mean that I’m human. They mean that I’m real. So, I’m learning to appreciate those things that are not perfect about myself. Acknowledging that you can’t do everything is important. You have to allow yourself that grace. I think we’re now beginning to see how this "strong Black woman" facade is negatively affecting us. We say yes far too often and take on way too much and it can impact the way we feel about ourselves
Self-love for me is mostly about finding time away from all my projects to focus on myself or spend time with my family.
It’s easy to forget to do the kind of things I enjoy doing for myself, like chilling out and watching a good movie or meditating. Maybe I want to work on a puzzle tonight instead of taking care of someone else. Maybe I want to take a bubble bath. Those things are important too! Some of them might seem very luxurious, but you do so much daily, you must dedicate some time to yourself. I make sure that every day I practice just being with myself, talking to myself, learning to know myself. Because we spend 24/7 with ourselves, it’s easy to assume that we know who we are, but if you don’t stop the noise and have a frank conversation with yourself, you never get to know yourself.
And I think that getting to know yourself is the biggest act of self-love.
I practice taking time out. Practice makes perfect. In the same way that there are activities that you do every day to take care of your body, (for instance, showering, brushing your teeth) you have to dedicate daily time to taking care of your self-empowerment. Even if you just read affirmations for five minutes every day, or spend some time in front of the mirror giving yourself a pep talk, focus on yourself daily. If you do it here and there, it doesn’t really work. Take a little time every day just to recap what you’ve done during the day. Think about what brought you joy, because self-love is closely connected to Black joy. It’s important to develop the ability to recognize what makes us happy and to make sure that we include those moments of happiness in our daily lives.
If you had asked me in my twenties or thirties what I would have wanted to do with my free time, I would have answered, “I’d like to go out, enjoy myself, travel the world, live in Ibiza, go on holidays." In my forties, I just want to spend some time appreciating myself a bit more. I want to be 100% comfortable with myself. I may not have the right shoes, but hey, I’m still walking, and I’m still alive, and I’m still blessed. I’ve still got friends and family.
For me, a big part of self-love is about being kind to myself, and working exceptionally hard, but playing even harder.
I like to take my foot off the gas occasionally, get in my car and go for nice long drive on my own and with my music blaring. Allowing my brain to not think for a moment is so important for me.
There are times where you’ll go, “Oh my God, I’m so down today.” It’s important to recognize those moments where you need to be still. That, for me, is the greatest act of self-love. We are constantly on a balance beam, trying to balance work and social life and relationships. Often, the only time that you probably get on your own is when you’re commuting. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of giving your head the space to be still, and being comfortable with that stillness. Take time to actually think, “Do I like my life? Do I like what I’ve got? Do I like what’s in my own head, my own thoughts?”
I think, for me, that was the catalyst of my own self-love journey. Just actually sitting back and listening to the thoughts that were going through my mind, listening to the way I was speaking to myself. I mean, wow. This newfound ability to sit still and listen to myself transformed the way I was thinking day to day, moment by moment.
But as a Black woman, it’s pretty difficult to do that. We can lie to each other, but I’d rather not. It’s really difficult to do that. So a huge suggestion that I always say to people is, get a journal, or a book, and write down your thoughts. Do this on a daily basis. And in a year’s time, go back and read through your own thoughts. Don’t read it the day after, read it in a month’s time and see what your thoughts are because that helped me. That will really show you where your head’s actually at. I’ve picked some things that are easy to do. Like meditation, that’s free. I like a bit of a freebie. Think about them as things that will help.
How do you maintain self-love? Practice!
If you start to make it part of your daily routine, it’s hard to miss the cues reminding you to take a time out for yourself. If, for example, you make daily affirmations part of your routine, you’ll find yourself saying them each time you look in the mirror.
It only takes a short time to form a habit, and self-love can become one of your better habits if you start making it a ritual.
A creator of safe spaces, and an initiator of difficult conversations, M.J. Fievre, B.S. Ed, spent much time building up her Black students, helping them feel comfortable in their skin, and affirming their identities. Her close relationships with parents and students led her to look more closely at how we can balance protecting our child’s innocence with preparing them for the realities of Black life. When―and how―do you approach racism with your children? How do you protect their physical and mental health while also preparing them for a country full of systemic racism? She began to research the issue and speak to school counselors and psychologists to find (and apply!) strategies parents and teachers can use with their children to broach uncomfortable but necessary topics.
M.J. is the author of Badass Black Girl, a daily dose of affirmations for Black Girls
“You'll come away from Badass Black Girl feeling as if you've known the author your entire life, and it's a rare feat for any writer.” ―“Mike, the Poet,” author of Dear Woman and The Boyfriend Book
#1 Gift Idea in Teen & Young Adult Cultural Heritage Biographies, Publishers Weekly Select Title for Young Readers
Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.
Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you will confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss.
Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help you nurture creativity, positive self-awareness and Black girl bliss. This journal honors the strength and spirit of Black girls.
Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek to inspire and ignite discussion. You are growing up in a world that tries to tell you how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages you to fight the flow and determine for yourself who you want to be.
Badass Black Girl helps you to:
Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations
Learn more about yourself through insightful journaling
Become comfortable and confident in your authentic self