Are you happy? There is a happy black woman revolution happening! We are making decisions to get out of life everything we want: beautiful bodies, strong romantic relationships, healthy family connections, meaningful friendships, money, preferred careers, and grounded spirituality. We are doing it by monitoring how we think, what we believe, and how we act. Here are just a few of the things that happy black women know:
1. Every woman should have her own money. A man IS NOT a financial plan, no matter how much you love each other. (I can thank my favorite uncle, mom, and grandmother for that advice.)
2. What got you here won’t necessarily get you there. Some of the skills that we used to secure the positions that we currently have in our careers, such as technical skills, become less important as you continue on your career path. Since you have proven yourself to be competent and knowledgeable, it’s the “softer” skills such as empathy, sense of humor, collaboration, and the ability to share and connect your personal story that get you remembered and included in higher profile projects and selected high-leverage opportunities.
3. Happiness is a decision. My childhood was not crazy, but I definitely had struggles—like many of us. For a long time, I allowed my circumstances to determine how I felt about myself and draw conclusions about the type of life I was destined to live. I carried that heaviness for a long time but realized in my mid-twenties that I had the power to redefine how I viewed the world. With that power, I chose to view setbacks as either opportunities or temporary.
4. The “Strong Black Woman” does not exist. As far as I am concerned, being strong for the sake of being strong is for the birds. And anyone that wants to affix that label to me can take that Superwoman cape and get on with the get on. No black woman is made of brick and no black woman will always have it all together. More importantly, they do not have to. Each black woman is entitled—despite what the media perpetuates– to embrace all of her humanity, the fragilities, the vulnerabilities, and the complexities. Period.
5. We all have a tribe: Some of us find our closest friends early on in life while others are late bloomers and are just getting to the groove of creating and sustaining meaningful friends. We all have a tribe. If you have not found yours yet, don’t stop looking because they are looking for you, too.
6. Courage is a muscle that can be developed. I think Maya Angelou said something to this effect recently. You can build courage by being courageous at small things first like being the first to speak at a meeting or being the first to introduce yourself to someone that you want to get to know. Once are you comfortable with being courageous at small things you can be courageous at big things like quitting that damn 9-5 you hate, traveling alone, or relocating to a strange place to follow your passion.
7. Travel is powerful. Travel gives you some of the biggest life lessons about culture, nature, and history. Travel also introduces a woman to herself because she is forced to step out of her comfort zone, deal with being different, and learn to connect with people in a short period of time.
8. Life is to be lived on purpose. Life is way short and before you know it, you may be collecting a Social Security check. In hindsight, most people regret the risks they did not take rather than the ones they did take. So, if you want to do that thing, whatever it is, take some action steps within the next 24 hours to get the ball rollin’.
9. It is empowering to ask for everything that you want 100% of the time. Some of us engage is such debilitating self-talk that we talk ourselves out of pursuing an interest, asking a question, and taking a risk because we have already convinced ourselves that we will fail. This negative talk is irrational and has no grounding in reality. You cannot wait for someone to read your mind. You have to go out there and be proactive. While you may not get what you want all of the time, the practice of asking will become habit and increase your changes of getting most of what you want.
10. You have the right to change your mind at any time. We make decisions with the information that we have at any given time. If more information shows that we should reconsider, slow down, or hightail it in the opposite direction, it’s in our every right.
FNF Ladies: Are you a happy black woman? How do you know?