As you work to improve your well-being, feelings of guilt may arise. You’re not alone. It is a common experience among black women. Often times, society gives us the impression that we do not deserve the good things that happen to us, unless we have worked tirelessly to get them. We are conditioned to move on through bad feelings, ignoring the signs of depression and anxiety to take care of everyone else. So when you put your well-being above others, you feel guilty. * applause * Ah, ah. It’s time to release those feelings of guilt that come with practicing radical self-care to become better and healthier.

Take a notebook and do the following: Begin by assessing where these emotions are coming from. Take the time to reflect and ask yourself: Where did I learn to put the needs of others before my own? Why do I think I need to justify my personal care requirement? Then apologize for the times when you’ve pushed yourself beyond your limits and ignored your need for self-esteem. Continue by forgiving the origin of the guilt. Most likely, this is a female caregiver (maybe a mother or grandmother) who hasn’t given you a good example of what taking care of yourself should look like. She did her best with her self-awareness. Most importantly, make a commitment not to judge yourself if feelings of guilt arise while you practice self-care.

Ultimately, the more you work on not feeling guilty about taking care of yourself, the closer you get to the freedom you deserve.

Extract of Self-care for black women by Oludara Adeeyo. Copyright © 2022 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.