Of course, we can’t completely discuss leveling up without discussing the transformation that takes place within your mind, body, and soul as you seek out what makes you feel happiest and most fulfilled. For many women, leveling up includes finding a partner, and as a black woman in a happy marriage (ten years and counting), I want to give some tips for how to love oneself honestly and wholly. Once you are able to love yourself, it will be much easier for others to love you, especially that certain someone.
First, I want to say that I was not some whole, super-in-love-with-herself-and-clear-on-her-identity woman when I got married. Some women are, and I applaud that. But I wasn’t one of them. I was a young bride about to begin graduate school when I tied the knot, and I was only just beginning my journey toward true self-discovery, which included loving who I was, learning how to build lasting relationships, and knowing how to express myself in ways that were healthy and productive.
I had a lot to confront; I had unsettled resentment toward my parents, a deep desire for approval that I needed to sort out, I was terrible with money, and I had not yet learned to be comfortable placing my blackness at the forefront of my identity. To sum up: my finances were bad, I had an idea of who I was, but I was too afraid to dive deeper to get to know her, and I was mad at all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons.
While all of those afflictions are tangled webs that many other black women have had to sort through for themselves, I want to point out that they all have one common denominator: they are steeped in insecurity. And insecurities can tank a relationship. It is true that your spouse can and should function as a source for uplifting you to help you feel supported and not alone, but there are some (many) internal battles that even your spouse cannot save you from.