If you glance in Webster’s dictionary, the term strong is defined as the capacity for exertion or endurance. When you state that someone is strong, it is often received as a proud statement or a compliment; however, over the last couple of years, African American women are choosing to redefine their strength.
When I was growing up my mom always would say that she was raising me to be a strong black woman and I didn’t realize later in my life I would loathe the term of “being a strong black woman”. As I begin to grow into my womanhood I embrace being a strong black woman and it became a badge of honor. Friends and family would be in awe of how strong I was when I went through traumatic challenges in my life. But it became a strain to carry the weight when everyone depended on me to be this superwoman. I became angry and hurt because I wasn’t asked about my well-being. I felt like people assumed I was doing well because I held on to being “a strong black woman.”
In 2018 after hitting burnout, I decided to slowly unravel the strong woman persona and release myself from the superwoman black girl syndrome. While saving everyone else, I didn’t realize I needed to save myself. Now in this new revolution of women taking back their power, making their voices heard, and standing up for their rights, we are redefining terms that have crippled our growth to become limitless.
Below are a couple of ways you can redefine the strong black woman dynamics:
- Ask For Help. If you need help, reach out to someone. Needing help doesn’t mean you are weak, but it means you are brave enough to trust someone with your vulnerability.
- You don’t have to be the strong one. If you are the only person in your group where everyone comes to you for strength, then find another circle. However, if you find that you like being the person everyone depends on, there may be deeper issues where seeking therapy is necessary.
- It’s okay to say you don’t know. People may identify you as a strong black woman because you seem to be the expert on everyone’s problems. It is okay to tell others that you don’t have the answer and for them to seek professional advice or help for their issues.
- Create a new narrative about “the strong black woman.” It is up to us to create new stories about a black women.
- Representation. You are your best representative as a person so make sure you are expressing yourself the way you want others to see you. (Think of adjectives beyond strong to describe yourself).