The Art of Self-Love: Protecting Your Magic as a Black Woman

The Art of Self-Love: Protecting Your Magic as a Black Woman

"How you gonna win if you ain't right within?" -Lauryn Hill
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“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”—Audre Lorde

I’m pretty sure we can admit; black girls are the reigning queens at getting the job(s) done, hands down. We’re the nurturers day to day and we’re living busy lives, whether it be attending school, grinding at work, or taking care of others. We do these things to the best of our abilities all while dealing with life’s every day struggles, and of course societal oppression. Such women are goddesses, and quite frankly, deserve the world if you ask me. But it can seem like a daily and constant cycle of wake up, grind, take care of loved ones, sleep, repeat.

As black women, our self-care is vital. Naturally, our two sides, the nurturer in us (the gentle side that doesn’t want to let our friends and family down) and the boss in us (the fierce, get-sh*t-done-and-prevail-over-any-and-all-hurdles-towards-my-success) can prevent us from taking care of ourselves, if there isn’t a healthy balance. Where is our “middle”? I’ve talked to plenty of women who unfortunately believe that they must sacrifice their happiness in order to look out for their families, jobs, and/or education.

Now, don’t get me wrong, many fail to see that working hard is an amazing form of self love. What better way to say, “I love me”, than to put my all into getting what I deserve in the long run? However, we all know that too much of something isn’t a good thing. In fact, I am able to work hard in a more proficient manner by taking care of and loving myself. I feel like many of us fail to see that rejuvenation periods are actually major keys to success. Like Audre Lorde says, self love and care are acts of preserving who you are as an individual. Think of it as preserving your magic, like putting your skills, talents, nurturing and hardworking abilities on a charger. Just like your phone that needs charging and your car that needs fueling,

So. Do. You.

If I help myself first, I find that I actually have more energy to give into helping others and doing what I have to do, and I can do my tasks enthusiastically! We need to remember that our needs are just as important as anyone else’s. Many of us were raised to live by, “put others first” as our primary motto. There is nothing wrong with sacrifice and it is indeed necessary from time to time, but it should not involve giving up your sanity and/or happiness. If you see anything in your life taking you to a negative space, it is your duty to yourself to confront it, whether that means having a heart to heart with someone you feel is weighing you down (or distancing yourself from this person), or breaking up big tasks into smaller ones.

It is okay to say no to that party and go to sleep or have some time to yourself. There’ll be tons more parties and you’re still cool to those who matter. It’s okay to sit and have hot tea or a glass of wine with your favorite show after a long tedious day. Ma’am, it’s been a long week, and you know good and well that you are more than deserving of that candlelit bath.

So with that said, if you are reading this, remember that you are only able to give healthy love, when you love yourself. You are a queen, so treat yourself as such! I totally understand as someone who works through depression myself that it can be easier said than done, but, it is vital to remember that self love and care is a continuous practice, and is not a destination or something that you can take a day off from. Take it step by step, and make it a point to practice it each and every day. I hope the tips provided below find you well on your journey!

My Top 10 Self Love/Self Care Tips:

  • Ground yourself spiritually. My spiritual practices keep me grounded. You DO NOT have to be religious to be spiritual. Meditate, pray, do yoga, or go to church if that is for you. Create your own rituals that instill peace within you. Anything that truly resonates with your soul will do.
  • Make a vision board that embodies everything you are, that you love, and what you desire for your life. Pick out magazine clippings, photos, images, odds and ends and glue them all on to a poster board (or a cardboard box!). Hang it up where you can look at it every day.
  • When I’m feeling less than fabulous, I throw on some Erykah Badu, India Arie or Lauryn Hill. Those three always set the vibes right for me and help me vibrate higher again. And of course those are my personal faves, but just turn up some happy tunes to get you going again!

A Few Songs (of many) I’d Recommend:

  • Erykah Badu

-Didn’tcha Know

-Bag Lady

-On & On

  • Lauryn Hill

-To Zion

-Ex-Factor

-Nothing Even Matters

  • India Arie

-Beautiful

-Little Things

-There’s Hope

  • Taking your time with your day always helps, especially in the mornings. Brew/buy your favorite coffee or tea. Don’t just rush out of bed, be still and say a prayer or meditate. Take your time on your makeup. Before you leave, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful and that you love yourself dearly.
  • Work out! Those feel-good endorphins are no joke! After a nice exercise routine, you’ll feel refreshed, motivated and ready to take on the world. This practice is healthy mind, body and spirit.
  • If you need to go to counseling, GO. I’m not playing. I don’t care what your father, mother, sister, auntie, or your cousin says. Please go. Your mental health comes first and FOREMOST. Many fail to see that inner issues can creep slowly but surely into aspects of our lives if they are not addressed or healed.
  • Pamper yourself! Take a bath complete with candles and soothing music, paint your nails, and/or a facial. Can’t take a bath or hate them? Invest in an all-natural body scrub to use in your morning or nightly routine. When you’re looking good, you’re feeling good. Also, I highly suggest that every woman invests in organic coconut oil for skin and haircare. The tropical scent and your smooth skin will have you feeling like a Nubian goddess within seconds.
  • Take yourself to bed earlier. Get everything taken care of and get some well deserved rest. Sleep lessens depression, irritability, as well as makes you feel ready to take on the day, not to mention retains memory for all you college gals. Put your phone ACROSS the room, drink a hot cup of tea, and focus on your breathing before you tap out.
  • Keep a journal. Journaling is a healthy way to release the thoughts and feelings we harbor throughout the day. For me, writing is my life. It continuously keeps me in tune of who I am and where I am in my life's journey. Even if it’s one line, make it your goal to write something every day. Don’t know what to write? Here are a few examples:
  • “Today, I will show myself love by_______”
  • “Two (or more) positive things that happened today are______”
  • “Tomorrow, I will create a better day by______”
  • Write down the top 3-5 things you love about yourself. If you can write more, WRITE MORE by all means! Now next to each quality, write down how you will you enhance these things, or how you will do you do better to remember these things when you’re feeling down.
  • Write a 10 sentence autobiography about yourself, containing a couple of sentences about your past, present and future each. This is a great way for you to see your legacy in plain sight, and to remember who you are and where you are headed. Hang it up or store it where you can see daily.
  • Drink PLENTY of water. Great with inner and outer properties. You’ll feel better and your skin will love you lots!

I hope you enjoyed these tips and that they aid you well on your self-love journey!

Peace and light always,

Maya

Cover Image Credit: https://blackwomenofbrazil.co/2015/09/01/from-the-first-heartbreak-to-a-nonexistent-love-life-how-my-loneliness-taught-me-self-love/

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13 Gross Things Girls Do That Boys Don't Know About

From a girl, about girls.
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There's always talk about how gross boys are all the time, it's now time to talk about how gross maybe even how much more disgusting girls can be. It may not even be disgusting, but just weird, but we are girls. What can we say?

1. Gorilla legs.

It's not that we don't want to...okay, that was a lie. Every girl can agree that they only shave during bathing suit season when you're wearing a dress, or when you're gonna get it on. Basically, If she shaves her legs you're special.

2. When did I last wash this bra again?

We wear the same exact bra, for days, and weeks, and who knows for how long.

3. It's not just the bra's, it's the pants too.

We wear jeans and leggings like twenty times before we think about washing them.

4. We don't wash our hair every day.

Because unwashed hair is the best styling hair. Also because looking good takes too much work.

5. We are always picking at our faces, especially pimples.

As soon as we walk by a mirror, its a must. Car mirrors are awesome to pop those suckers and pluck rampant eyebrow hairs. We pop pimples like its our job.

6. We will live in your clothes.

If you somehow let your significant other or friend wear your sweatshirt you're never getting it back... and she's never taking it off. Girls will wear that sh*t until your scent is gone because we love it.

7. We poop.

Believe it or not... it happens to us too. Women don't make it as much as a show as boys do. We hide it from you and will hold it until you're not around. And you've probably received a lot of selfies on the toilet.

8. The dreaded monthly gift.

Probably the most disgusting thing to ever happen to the human body. But everyone knows about menstruating, but most guys don't understand the other things that come along with it, like the cramps that bring period farts and the nasty bowel movements and blood clots.

9. Finding hair from our head in our butt cheeks.

Yeah, it's a thing. Your head hair crawls it's way down there occasionally.

10. We smell ourselves a lot.

We are super conscious about how we smell...especially down there.

11. We let it fly.

We will hold in our farts from you, but as soon as we are alone... that's a different story. You better hope we don't get too comfortable around you too quick.

12. Sometimes we have to improvise.

Sometimes mother nature likes to come when we aren't ready, or prepared with the supplies. There are numerous occasions where we start bleeding and have to create this bundle of toilet paper and just shove it down there.

13. Looking at our panties and trying to figure out what came out.

Sometimes you just don't know for sure.

Cover Image Credit: Buzz Feed Blue

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To the Ones Who Somehow Made It Through High School And College Without Ever Dating

There is nothing wrong with you.
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There is no crime in being single—in having always been single. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you.

There are very few high school relationships that last; those rare high school sweethearts that make it, in the long run, are very blessed. Most of high school dating is a game of fitting in and being just like everyone else—“the cool kids date, so I should too.” Really, not dating in high school has saved you (and me) a lot of heartaches. This is not to say that high school dating is bad or wrong; I’m just saying that it’s not necessary.

Being single is actually very beneficial. It allows you more freedom and independence to better understand yourself and to explore your own dreams and desires before adding someone else’s into the mix. How can you take part in someone else’s dreams and desires without really understanding your own? When you do end up dating, you’ll be a lot more confident with what you want and need.

Being single also gives you the chance to invest in intimate friendships that you otherwise wouldn’t develop. Friendships can be just as beneficial (or more so) than romantic relationships. Need someone to lean on, to understand you in all your crazy, to not run away on the bad days? That’s what true friends are for—and close friendships tend to last longer than most romantic relationships. You should not ever underestimate a good friendship.

People in relationships are not necessarily happier than people who are single. You can be just as content and happy single as you can be in a romantic relationship. The reverse is also true. You can be just as miserable in a romantic relationship as you can being single. Being in a romantic relationship is not going to suddenly and magically cure or solve all your problems. “Happily Ever Afters” also don’t work the way all the fairytales and stories would have us believe. Relationships are a lot of work - you have to take into consideration not just your own dreams and your own problems but also your partner’s, and that’s not a bad thing because two heads are better than one and all that, but there is a reason for such a thing as “timing.”

Dating is a lot about getting the timing right. You’re not always going to be in a good headspace for a good, healthy relationship. There have definitely been moments in my life where I strongly desired to be in a romantic relationship (especially because all of my friends were), but looking back, it was a good thing. A romantic relationship would have added a level of stress and distraction in my life that I was not ready for and probably still am not ready for. Dating is partly a waiting game, so don’t worry if you haven’t had the chance yet

From One Single Person to Another

I promise there is nothing wrong with you or me, and our time will come.

Cover Image Credit: @finduslost | Instagram

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