If you’re wondering how I know what you’re going through so well, it’s because I’ve been there. Multiple times, in fact. As a first gen American born woman raised in a household and community with high expectations and high competition, I know a thing or two about stress, burnout and self-neglect.
My parents were such hard-workers, sacrificing so much of their time, their health and even their happiness to make life work in a new land, as West African immigrants. They taught me to work hard, but they didn’t know how to teach me boundaries or being gentle with myself, because they did not have that to give.
Life was a matter of survival and always reaching for the next goal. There wasn’t a ton of celebrating when a win would come, because the goalpost was always moving ahead. I learned to be an achiever, which honestly has gained me a lot of success in life. But it came attached with a cost.
You see, when you combine a focus on getting ahead with a natural drive to serve and love others, you tend to end up with a recipe for a hot mess. And who enjoys sitting down to an entree of “Hot Mess” for dinner!
With a tendency to burn the candle at both ends and do waaaay too much, I have had to learn how to develop of mindset of self-love and the boundaries and systems to support it, so that I could enjoy my home life, my healthy ambition and my career as a therapist in a way that was actually sustainable. And I needed to work through this in a holistic way that honored all my identities and experiences in the world as a black woman.
This wasn’t just for me (though, frankly, that would be enough!)- it was also for anyone who looked up to me, for my children, for my friends and community, for the clients in my practice. I knew that learning how to get this right could have a far reaching impact and do so much good for the women who normally settle for so much less.