5 Feelings That Every Black Woman Should Experience

I know it’s New Year’s resolution time. This usually means that we talk about things that we want to do and want to accomplish. We break out the scissors and the glue and create beautiful vision boards with all of the people, places, and things that we want to meet, go, or purchase.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it. I still have my vision board from last year which showcased my health and fitness goals.

This year, though, I decided to flip the script. Instead of writing down and focusing all of the things that I wanted to accomplish, this year I want to focus on all the ways that I want to feel.

Yes, feel.

If you are a black woman living in America, there are so many messages from our family circles and larger institutional structures that remind us that how we feel is not their concern when there is work to be done, food to be made, and problems to be solved. In other words, many of the societal expectations of black women is that we keep how we feel to ourselves. This is assuming that they even believe that we have a complex humanity that demands attention and cultivation.

Joy: I want joy for you and for myself. But before you can relish in your joy, make sure you know what brings you joy. With a million and one things on your plate, have you ever sat down and took the time to figure what brings you joy? When I was a little girl, I used to think that joy was for other people and not for me. I was so busy being sad and miserable because my father wasn’t around that I forgot that I was capable of such a positive emotion. This sense of sadness continued into my twenties until I sought support from a counselor. Talking about my past helped me declutter my thoughts so I could learn to enjoy my present and prep for a joyful future. I’m now well into my thirties and I know at least 10 things that bring me joy.

Here are ten of them: sleep, reading, blogging, saving & investing, connecting with dope women of color online and offline, talking to my stoic uncle about sappy things so he can blush, harassing my mother and brothers, chilling with my husband, spiritual retreats and workshops, and a dollop ratchet reality shows. (After you read this post, take a sheet of paper and brainstorm everything that brings you joy – the rachet and the righteous. Don’t censor it. Make sure you schedule to do at least two of those things within the next week. Also, if you are looking for a good book on joy, I highly, highly recommend All the Joy that You Can Stand by Debrena Jackson Gandy. I love her work.)

Unconditional Love: We all need to feel that we have a home to which to return especially when we are not perfect, make mistakes, and are far from flawless. This home lives in the hearts and spirits of friends, your family, your online groups, your community organizations, and your religious safe spaces. This is especially one of my goals for 2015. I am in the “retribing” process because I have had to leave a few friendships in 2014. As a result, I am more intentional about giving the unconditional love and support to people in my circle that have been there for me. Concretely this means, I return texts and emails in a timely fashion. I try to say yes for invitations to come out and play.

Confidence: Confidence comes in so many shapes and forms, but at the core of confidence is being true to yourself and liking what you do and who you are. I know for me, a big piece of my confidence comes from knowing that I am good saver and an avid reader. If confidence comes to you through how you dress (and you’re not going into debt for it), your culture, your friendships, or your art, make sure you give a lot of you attention to those things this year.

Discomfort: Did I just write “discomfort?” Yes, but not the physical or emotional kind that only brings stress, pain and sadness into your life. The kind of discomfort that I am talking about is eustress, which occurs when you step out of your comfort zone into your greatness. It’s the kind of discomfort that precedes feelings of euphoria and optimism. It comes from finally writing your book, finally going back to school, finally making amends with a loved one, finally getting out of debt, or finally negotiating for a higher salary.

Frugal Feministas: What are you hoping to feel in 2015?

[info_box type=”alert_box”]Caring for yourself including takes care of your finances.  I encourage all ladies who are serious about self-care to go on The Happy Finances Challenge. In 42 days you can learn to make money decisions that will lead to long-term financial happiness. [/info_box]

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