She’s bold, she’s fierce, her life is together, slayage is on 100, her tribe can depend on her, she is raising the kids, making her house a home, doing yoga, drinking eight 16oz of water every day, AND praying for an hour each night before going to bed. She is a BOSS. SHE IS A SUPERWOMAN…but is she mentally healthy?
The thought of being a strong woman is appealing to most people. We see it on TV, in the movies, and projected in real life. Physically and mentally tough women. And let’s face it, we as women strive to be those women of strength because this world does not hold any punches and only the strong survive, right? WRONG.
This projected image is especially true for the Black woman. Society expects Black women to be super. We are so endued with this stereotype, it is actually hurting us more than we think as we subconsciously uplift the “Strong Black Woman” persona. For decades, the Black woman has been held a standard that is killing us slowly. Remember we are mothers, sisters, friends, and just plain old human as well! The Strong Black Woman persona is in dire need of explicitly expressing self-care as a staple in the life of a Black woman. We should be strong enough to step back and take care of ourselves more often.
"Remember YOU are also a priority..."
Here are four reasons why we need to take our “super” cape off:
1. Generational mindset: We pass down this perception and behaviors verbally and non-verbally to our daughters. Inadvertently creating an unhealthy concept of self that perpetuates itself within our families and communities.
2. We suffer in silence: The Black woman is often the “go-to” person for strength and guidance for everyone which makes it twice as difficult for us to express our own emotions, even if it is appropriate to do so. Suppressing emotions can have a detrimental impact on our mental wellness, which can turn into breakdowns, depression, anxiety, toxic behavior, and/or substance abuse just to name a few.
3. Extreme Independence: WARNING: Strong Language. Vulnerability (sorry, I had to use that curse word). Vulnerability is not a characteristics trait that most Black women talk about because it gives an air of being a doormat. When in reality it is a welcoming salutation that says you are human and can need help from other people at times. Without vulnerability, we can easily build a wall around ourselves and shut people out eventually making us feel alone and unloved.
4. Unbalance Self-Care: Or the non-existence of it. Forfeiting ourselves for the sake of others on a consistent basis is sort-of admirable yet detrimental. Obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease run rampant in our community as Black Queens. Unbalanced self-care can affect sleeping patterns, relationships, and even our diet if we are not aware of our self-care.
So how do we avoid falling to those four deadly mindsets and behaviors? Establish your own self-care program and be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to a healthy mind and body. Write a plan specifically for you and activated by you. Start expressing yourself in a positive way that exudes being comfortable with your emotions, establish boundaries, remember YOU are also a priority on your list, balance out and reclaim your “me time”.
Sis, for this new year, let’s make a resolution that our superpower will be SELF-CARE!
What Self-Care things to you do for yourself? Leave a comment, let's talk!
About the Author
Danielle Parks is a freelance writer, published author, and a speaker who enjoys advocating for Mental Health Awareness & Wellness among Black and Brown women, and being a mom to her amazing daughter as well as a cat mom.