I just had a conversation with women that identify as Strong Black Women about the need to redefine what it means to be one. We all agreed that those that suffer from Strong Black Womanitis struggle with self-care. We agreed that what it means to be a strong black woman must include the prioritization of self-care. We also admitted that we weren't doing it.
Let's just keep it really real. It is hard to uphold this title within our community. It takes a toll on our emotional, physical and mental health. It affects how we show up in the world. Strong Black Women are independent. We don't need help. We don't ask for help. And our successful track record of winning despite the odds has served as a disservice to us. Some have stopped asking us if we need help because they assume we got it. Can we blame them? We instinctually tell everyone that asks that we're good?
The truth is that we need help. If we ask for help then we tell ourselves that we are the opposite of strong. We are weak. How could a strong black woman be weak? We can't admit this. We can't betray the community. Instead we opt to suffer in silence. While we are suffering and simultaneously exhibiting the restraint we are expected to have; we are setting ourselves up for depression, anxiety and exhaustion. Strong Black Women that aren't practicing self-care are pushing themselves to the point of depletion and still expecting their brains and bodies to operate at an optimal level. That's a set-up if I've ever heard one.
Let's set ourselves up for success. Let's stop talking ourselves out of doing things for ourselves. Let's release the guilt that shows up when we want to say no to something or someone. Let's stop feeling like we have to do the most. Ask for help. Let's not suffer in silence. Reach out for support. You'll learn that needing help is not weak. Never asking for it is.