You’ve likely heard the saying before: “You can’t love others until you love yourself.” This sentiment rings especially true when it comes to overcoming anti-Blackness.
For Black women, it can be difficult to love ourselves when society tells us time and time again that we aren’t worthy of love. From the moment we’re born, we’re inundated with messages that Blackness is ugly, bad, and wrong. And all too often, these messages come from other Black women.
It’s no wonder then that so many of us struggle with feelings of self-loathing and inadequacy. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can overcome anti-Blackness and learn to love yourself.
Understanding the Roots of Anti-Blackness
Black women have been grappling with anti-Blackness since the inception of racism. From the time we’re born, we’re taught that Black is bad, that we’re not good enough, that we’re ugly and inferior.
This is a struggle that many of us face on a daily basis. It’s something that we have to deal with every time we look in the mirror, every time someone calls us the n-word, every time we’re told that we’re not “black enough.”
It’s tough, but it’s not impossible to overcome. You have to start by acknowledging and understanding the roots of anti-Blackness. You have to unlearn all of the harmful things that you’ve been taught about yourself and your people. And you have to embrace your Blackness wholeheartedly.
Developing a Sense of Identity and Worthiness
It is critical that we develop a sense of identity and worthiness if we are to overcome the internalized anti-Blackness that plagues our community. Without this, we are susceptible to the messages that society sends us about who we are and what we’re worth.
You must learn to love yourself in order to reject the negative messages that you’ve been told about yourself. You must see your beauty, your power and your worth. Only when you know your own value will you be able to stand up against those who seek to undermine it.
Building Solidarity With Other Black Women
Black women are often the targets of anti-Blackness from other Black women. This happens when we don’t conform to certain beauty and hair standards, or when we date/marry people outside our race, etc. It’s a way of policing Black womanhood, and it can be really damaging.
But there’s power in solidarity. When we come together and support each other, we can overcome these harmful attitudes. We need to build community with each other, and celebrate our differences instead of allowing them to be used against us.
When you see another Black woman being attacked, speak up. Show her that she’s not alone, and that you stand with her. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it.
Acknowledging Traumas and Negative Emotions
Acknowledging the traumas and feelings associated with anti-Blackness is one of the most important steps in overcoming anti-Blackness. In order to do this, it is essential to identify your own unique and individual experiences of oppression that you have encountered in your own life.
Once you are able to identify these experiences, it is crucial to confront them head-on. This can be done through talking with someone you trust or seeking professional guidance. It is also important to recognize the ways in which oppressive systems have impacted not only you, but your family, friends, and community as well.
Facing these traumas can be difficult and can evoke negative emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, and frustration. It is important to remember that these feelings are valid and should be given space for expression. Find a personally healing way to process these emotions such as journaling or engaging in a creative activity like making art or music.
Pursuing Holistic Healing in Safe Spaces
As a Black woman, you might feel overwhelmed or scared when confronting anti-Blackness in yourself, particularly if it has been part of your internalized experience for a long time. A great way to begin healing is to seek out safe spaces to do the work.
This could take the form of therapy, finding a mentor or joining a support group. There is also the option of pursuing holistic healing practices that focus on mental, emotional and spiritual healing – modalities such as mindfulness, creative writing, guided visualization, yoga and breathwork can help you process and break through existing barriers. Natural remedies like herbs, crystals and essential oils can also be part of your self-care arsenal.
You don’t have to go through this journey alone—seek out people who understand what you are experiencing so that you can find comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
Cultivating Self-Love and Appreciation
Self-love and appreciation are essential components to the healing journey of Black women. So, how can you cultivate these?
For starters, focus on the things you can change. Try creating a list of affirmations that remind you of your worth, beauty and strength. Then, practice repeating these affirmations to yourself throughout the day. You might also try expressing gratitude for at least three things every day, whether it’s something small or big.
In addition, make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically and mentally by getting enough rest, eating nutritious meals and participating in activities that bring joy to your life. Taking time out for yourself is an important part of self-care and should not be neglected.
Lastly, surround yourself with people who uplift and support you. Having positive people in your corner can be just as important as practicing self-love and appreciation on our own—so make sure you take this seriously!
The first step is unlearning and relearning the truths about Blackness that have been programmed into our heads. This is a process that will require the active engagement of black women and femmes of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We must begin to see ourselves as we are, worthy of love and liberation.
It is also important that we support one another in this process. We must build safe spaces for healing and be there for one another when we are experiencing anti-blackness in our personal lives. Let’s commit to creating a world in which black women and femmes can exist in their fullness.