Black Women: Look Out for Number One

Black Women, please put yourself first.

I think it’s great that there are many resources (online, library, books, tapes, etc.) available for the betterment of black women. However, I always have a beef with those that clamor for black women to make changes. These proposals often ask: what can a black woman do to benefit others, but not what the black woman can do for herself.

I make no bones about looking out for myself.

Like a passenger on a plane, black women must put the oxygen mask on herself first. You cannot help others if you aren’t breathing. You cannot help others if your financial house is not in order. You cannot help others if your priorities are messed up. You cannot fix others, if you are still broken.

I have a fantastic family. I love the way I was brought up. No one in my family, especially my Mother and Father ever made me think my well being had to be sacrificed to please anyone. You get my drift? My stuff belonged to me. My well being came first – as well as my siblings. I wasn’t raised to be second to anyone.

So I’m often perplexed when I read, see, or know of black women who feel guilty if they aren’t throwing themselves under the bus for people. I realize that they might not even be aware of it. But no woman should be a sacrificial lamb.

Be a sistah to yourself first.

Learn to be selfish. It’s a good thing. Be loyal to yourself. So next time someone says, “You’re so selfish.” Reply with, “Yes, I am, that’s why I’m living well.”

Give vanity a try! Looking great makes you feel great! It’s good for your overall emotional and physical health!

Guilt is a wasteful emotion. Don’t ever let anyone use this on you.

Giving your time is just as precious as giving your life. Don’t be so caviler about it.

Get into the habit of saying, “No.” Don’t hem and haw.

If people want you to ride or die for them, let them ride or die for you first.

Agreeing with someone doesn’t make you a follower, doormat, or groupie. Disagreeing with someone doesn’t (or shouldn’t) make you an enemy, even if you enjoy playing Devil’s Advocate. Intelligent people appreciate well thought-out criticism.

Don’t feel obligated to anyone. They could be using you. You know the deal: they do you one favor and the next thing you know, you are repaying that one favor over a lifetime.

People are clumsy at self-expression, not everyone is glib and verbally gifted. Cut the inarticulate, and possibly the ignorant, some slack. Not everyone is aiming for your jugular.

Last, but not least, you are not a bank, a charity, or a non-profit organization. Don’t be afraid to ask for your money. Don’t be afraid to charge for your time and effort.

Don’t get in the habit of purchasing affection. Life gets rough when you run out of money.

Not everybody is going to like you, but they should, at least, respect you.

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