Leaning Into Self Is the Beginning of Me
You can steer yourself any way you choose. ~ Dr. Seuss
As a black woman, I know how important it is to have self-confidence. Unfortunately, this is something many black women work towards well into adulthood. Yet, we provide very little guidance to Gen Z black girls who experience the same issues with self-confidence at a young age. Adolescence is a critical time for black girls. This is when they become aware of who they are in the world. They strive to be accepted and perfect. They try to fit into the box of being a “good girl,” which society defines differently for them and their peers. As a result, anxiety manifests, and they begin to fear making decisions. This leads to not taking a risk and experiencing the process it takes to build self-confidence. Or they take risks, and the consequences are so severe that they opt not to try again.
A great example is when a black girl decides to voice her opinion in school. She is told she is being disrespectful. She is reprimanded for being rude rather than being praised for her view. She determines that her opinion does not matter. The one time she decided to lean into herself, the response from others was negative.
Building confidence for the Gen Z black girl is challenging. In addition to all that comes with gender and race, they live in an era where social media platforms present ongoing exposure. They are constantly online creating posts or scrolling through posts. They can be happy one minute and depressed the next minute based on what they see. It leads to self-consciousness and thoughts about their self-worth.
As a black woman, I think it is time for us to challenge the next generation of black girls to take risks and lean into themselves. They need to know that failing is okay; they should continue trying. We must teach them to embrace all the many lessons they learn from being a black girl. As a black woman, I provide opportunities to increase their confidence. I welcome the opportunity and challenge others to do the same. Most importantly, when you encounter a black girl with little or no self-confidence, encourage her to ….” Slay What Ya Hear!... and know she is worthy of everything she tells herself she should be!