As you do the work to improve your well-being, feelings of guilt may arise. You're not alone. This is a common experience among Black women. Often, society makes us feel like we are not deserving of the good things that come to us—unless we worked tirelessly to get them. We are conditioned to push forward through bad feelings, ignoring signs of depression and anxiety to take care of everyone else. So when you put your wellness above others, you feel guilty. *claps* Aht, aht. It's time to release those feelings of guilt around practicing radical self-care to become a better, healthier you.
Grab a notebook and do the following: Begin with evaluating where these emotions are coming from. Take some time to think and ask yourself: Where did I learn that I should put the needs of others before mine? Why do I think I must justify my requirement of self-care? Next, apologize to yourself for the times you pushed yourself beyond your limits and ignored your need for self-love. Follow up with forgiving the origin of the guilt. It is most likely a woman caregiver (maybe a mom or grandma) who didn't provide you with a good example of what caring for yourself should look like. She did the best she could with the amount of awareness she had of herself. Most importantly, commit to not judging yourself if feelings of guilt arise as you practice self-care.
Ultimately, the more you work on not feeling guilty about taking care of yourself, the closer you get to experiencing the freedom you deserve.
Excerpted from Self-Care for Black Women by Oludara Adeeyo. Copyright © 2022 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.