This just in: self care is not a new concept. For centuries, women have been enjoying forms of “self care” that have elevated beauty norms, emotional well-being and overall creativity.
In honor of the women who paved the way for how we understand self care and self love, we want to take a moment to highlight the wise words of three Black women luminaries who have inspired our generation to step more fully into our beautiful selves.
Ms. Angelou once said that society’s view of the black woman is such a threat to her well-being that she will die daily unless she determines how she sees herself.
She considered herself wise, knowing and [a woman] who always wanted to learn. She leveraged her platform to describe the Black woman’s experience in America, and like many of us, didn’t shy away from talking about the struggles to take care of herself. Through her words, she imparted on us a kind of hope that became foundational to her legacy; as a phenomenal Black woman.
- I have long struggled with self-love. I strive, each day, to be kinder to myself, and to value my worth. And I know I’m not alone. Countless others struggle with this very same issue, but I want to leave you with this:
- There is only one of you in this world, and we need you.
- You are perfect in your own way.
- You are worthy of your love.
- Let’s promise each other to be a little bit kinder to ourselves today, and each day to come.
The literary icon that she was, Toni Morrison eloquently put words to what self care and self love were to women. Through her pen she told stories of triumph and love, while also educating readers on the complexities of the human experience. Toni was a staunch advocate for finding freedom from within:
“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” – Beloved
“You are your best thing.” – Beloved
“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that’s weighing you down.” – Song of Solomon
Nina Simone was an institution all her own. As a legendary musician and Civil Rights Activist who understood the power of Black womanhood, Nina was referred to as the High Priestess of Soul. She embodied every inch of her physical beauty, talent and ingenuity to give Black women a global voice during a dark time in our nation’s history.
She unapologetically shared her truth, challenged the status quo and knew that self care was a continual process:
“I have to constantly re-identify myself to myself, reactivate my own standards, my own convictions about what I’m doing and why.”
“I’ve never changed. I’ve never changed my hair. I’ve never changed my color. I have always been proud of myself, and my fans are proud of me for remaining the way I’ve always been.”
“You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.”
“I think women play a major part in opening the doors for better understanding around the world.”
May the words of these women and others draw inspiration, courage and a new focus to take space and take care. You are worthy, sis.