On Wednesday, during our weekly Skype therapy sessions (I saw him in office for a year but I’ve since moved so Skype it is), my therapist said I’ll diminish anything good about myself I can come up with no matter what.
Yup, I have a tendency to do this big time. It is easy for me to see the strength in others. In fact, I have a tendency to hold people I admire up on a pedestal.
The question keeps coming up in therapy why I’m not able to identify and claim my skills set and abilities. I know it has a lot to do with childhood trauma and stuff I haven’t yet unpacked. But you know what that’s ok. I’m learning and I’m growing and I’m getting better at getting familiar with my voice and owning my magic. There are several things I’ve found helpful, and I wanted to share them with you.
- Believing other people when they tell me I’m the shit: This has been a game changer. When my fiancé Ginele tells me how awesome I am or how she’s super proud of me, I find myself searching her face for clues she’s lying. But guess what, there isn’t any. She means that shit. So how dare me not believe in myself! So, if you have someone in your life telling you you’re the shit, believe them because that’s a good start.
- Therapy! Therapy! Therapy! This has been such a game changer. Growing up a black (African) woman, I was taught to give everything up in prayer. That God will answer in his due time. This conditioning makes it difficult to see the need for therapy. You equate talking to a therapist with being broken or having a mental illness and in an African home, that is the biggest shame you can bring onto your family (well, and being gay). It wasn’t easy to overcome that conditioning to seek therapy, but I did it because it was a necessity. I wished to understand why I got so angry when faced with triggers. I’d try to modulate my anger on my own to no avail. If you’re on the fence about therapy, let go of your hesitation and fear of being stigmatized and just do it! I wanted to give you ladies some resources to finding good therapists in person or online.
- I used Psychology Today to find my therapist. You can search by different criteria to find a therapist in your area.
- Therapy for Black Girls is another great resource I’ve come across. They provide you with access to therapists who deal specifically with common issues black women face living in this society.
- Sometimes, after we’ve managed to take the leap to go to therapy, the cost can be prohibitive. That’s where Open Path Collective comes in to save the day. They help you find in person or online therapists for rates between $30 and $50 if you can demonstrate financial need. I’ve heard great things about them and they’re certainly doing amazing work! As I find more resources, I’ll build a resource list because I truly believe that everyone should have access to quality therapy. Only by doing this can we work to love ourselves fully as well as break the stigma associated with mental illness.
- A third thing that has helped me immensely is movement. Being able to see how strong I am physically has been instrumental in helping me own my power. Movement for me has meant powerlifting because I love it. But it can literally be any thing you love and enjoy doing. The key to making movement a constant practice is taking the need to solely have movement associated with weight loss or muscle gain out of the equation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having these aesthetic goals but there is a lot to lose when that is the sole reason we move. It leaves us with a high likelihood of quitting when those aesthetic goals are slow to come. So, while you have the privilege, I encourage you to just move for no other reason than if you don’t move it, you lose it (so cliche but so true).
- Last but not least, nutrition is a key component that has helped keep me in an optimal state of health which in turns enables to me to flourish and accept how awesome I am. Learning and applying the basics of good nutrition is the antithesis of diet culture. It means that we always are able to spot the harmful diet culture ideologies that are so prevalent in the multi-billion diet culture business we’re inundated with .
I obviously just touched briefly on these subjects and there is so much more to be said. I am excited to continue sharing my thoughts without fear or self-doubt. I hope to have you along for the journey because I have a prenomition that it’ll be a great one wherein I intend to help women come into their power in every possible way!