Self Care Within Black Families

Who will teach us about caring for ourselves holistically if not the people we began life with? Personal and family self-care means that all the needs of the family are integrated with the needs of the individual. An ideal scenario would have each member of the family use the Self-Care Program to address his or her own needs. For inspiration, the family would gather to discuss self-care success stories and lovingly support each other along the way.

Analyzing the definition of successful parenting is a hot bed topic widely argued and often distorted. Because of the many variances of circumstances we all live in, this book is focused on proactively working with what you have and allowing your spiritual and emotional dream team to help you work through personal circumstances.

Religious communities, family members, professionals and friends tend to help along the way, yet it can sometimes seem like a tangled web of advice when a difficult time surfaces. As we move through our adult life and spend time processing our past, handling our present and planning for our future, it can feel down right impossible to get a good rhythm of balanced self-care going. If we are blessed, self-care angels float into our lives and bring gold nuggets of lessons to add to our self-care manual.

The Accidental Self Care Manual

In terms of self-care, we have witnessed individuals growing up who have specific self-care practices and that we have never forgotten. Good or bad, we have accidentally programmed a self-care manual based on what we’ve been exposed to. A parent’s way of discussing finances becomes our way — -accidentally. An aunt’s way of expressing herself artistically becomes what we see as artistic self-care. A cousin’s way of working out consistently becomes our understanding of physical self-care.

The contrary is also true. You may have an uncle whose teeth were rotting out of his mouth and he’s never focused on his dental health, only to lose his teeth early in life. This becomes your visual understanding of low self-care.

What tends to be missing in most self-care lessons we accidentally experience in life is balance. You may have excellent self-care habits in the area of spirituality and socializing, but not in the areas of financial management. You may be a wonderful budget balancer and revenue generator but your creative side suffers. You may know how to excel academically but you are missing emotional compassion for others in need.

Self Care in Relationships

Recording and addressing what you discover about taking care of yourself is an act of building an intimate relationship with yourself. There is a sweet spot in you that, when you touch it as an act of self-care, you create a feeling of tenderness and safety at the same time. Intimacy is about closeness, and about having the courage to consistently get in touch with your own needs. This will help you improve the relationship you have with yourself and, as a result, with others. The things you really need to feel better and do better will slowly become more and clearer to you.

Quite often we believe our lack of a self-care is not obvious to others. Skipping a meal here and being passively silent there can seem like small acts if they only happen every now and then. But a habit of low self-care can bring unimaginable stress on a relationship and trigger intense feelings of disappointment or even jealously towards the other person.


Adapted from the book: Self Care Matters A Revolutionary’s Approach by Anana Johari Harris Parris (Connect with her)