1. Being Afraid to See Other Black Women Win
In this cut-throat society, where looks, image and success is everything, it can be more than a little intimidating and threatening to see another gorgeous black woman stopping traffic with her drop-dead looks or building the impressive professional career you’ve always wanted. Although it’s much easier said than done (trust me), the thing to remember is that nobody’s life is perfect, even if it looks that way from the outside.
What To Do About It: If you find yourself envying another successful sister, consider befriending her and learning from her. Instead of envying her gorgeous 4c hair, while yours is still in that awkward TWA (teeny weeny afro) phase, ask for some natural hair tips. Successful women can always learn from each other and remember – there’s always room at the top for more! Be glad to see black women getting promotions, finding love, travelling all over the world and leading happy, fulfilling lives. Use their Instagram-worthy lives as inspiration to live your own life to the fullest!
2. Playing Into The “Strong Black Woman” Stereotype
I have to make a confession—I’m not a “strong black woman”. And to be honest, it’s the last thing I’d want to be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the legions of black women who have survived years of societal abuse. It’s just that I think there is more than one way to be a black woman, and the “strong black woman” narrative simply doesn’t encompass all that it means to be a black woman. There’s nothing wrong with being strong, independent and fierce, but black women, we can also be much more than martyrs who endure large magnitudes of pain in silence. We can be beautiful, feminine, gentle, sensitive and vulnerable. Unfortunately, the world we live in rarely affords black women the benefits of vulnerability and this fact only further damages the black female psyche.
What To Do About It: Christine Pungong’s statement on Fader Magazine perfectly describes the power of self-love as a black woman: “The greatest thing I can do for myself in a world that invalidates my experiences, identity, and existence is to love myself fiercely, and care for myself as best as I can”. Yes, you may be black and strong, but you may also need to seek treatment for your mental health. You may need to delegate and prioritize self-care. It’s also important to find a tribe of supportive people who will have your back when times get difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help that you need and so truly deserve.