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8 Affirmations That Remind Us To Slow Down

Sometimes, a "no" to everyone else is a "yes" to yourself…and that's more than OK. It's necessary.

Wellness

I'm so here for what many are calling a "women empowerment movement". We are conquering and taking over the world (as we've been doing for centuries) and achieving monumental success in so many ways. We are mothers, wives, sisters, friends, daughters, and caretakers. We are professionals, teachers, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, leaders, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, activists, coders, CEOs, and everything in between.

As easy as it is to list our titles and accomplishments, I've noticed at times how difficult it is for us, as Black women, to admit when we're tired or worn out from everything that we're doing. We're making a lot of things work so we can do it all and have it all, but are we carving out enough time to slow down and rest when we need to?

If you're like me, and at times, you find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed, or feeling as if you're doing the most or putting too much pressure on yourself, here are some affirmations to remind you, as well as myself, to slow down and give yourself some grace.

1. "My peace is more important than having a packed schedule."

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You never have to chase or force what's meant to be. "Your gifts will make room for you" (Proverbs 18:16). There's a difference between being strategic and desperately seeking opportunities. The most authentic relationships, connections, careers, and opportunities usually happen by choice, not force. Hence, you don't have to beg people for an opportunity and you don't have to always be on the scene at every event trying to force something to happen.

When we stretch ourselves too thin, we end up sharing a piece of ourselves with too many people, and then we wonder why we don't have peace in our lives.

2. "It’s OK to ask for help."

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Whatever "help" looks like for you, don't be afraid to ask for it when you need it. I've learned firsthand that being the so-called "strong friend" also means being vulnerable and courageous enough to admit when you're not okay. As LeToya Luckett recently stated: "God placed angels to create support systems."

3. "Rest is required."

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Clearly my body can't do it like I used to when I was in my early twenties and when I was in college. Some people say "I'll sleep when I'm dead," but clearly someone missed the memo that sleep and rest is essential to our health. Listen to your body. Rest, reset, and refresh when you need to.

4. "I can’t be everything to everyone."

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If I'm not good to myself, then I won't be good to anyone else. Sometimes you have to take a step back and ask, "If I'm pouring everything into everyone else, then who is pouring into me?" You can't pour from an empty cup, and like they say, "Self-care is the best care."

5. "My husband is my helpmate, so I will let him help me."

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I love when the Bride-to-Be (@caranellbell via @yvonneorji) stated in her wedding vows: "My greatest blessing in this life is to finally be able to take off my superwoman cape and let you carry it…" In other words, I like being an independent woman, but I also love being able to depend on my man.

It really hit home for me as well when Erica Campbell recently shared at the Black Love Summit how she felt after having her first child. "I was so nervous and overwhelmed about everything and trying to figure it out. Warryn wanted to help but I didn't always allow him to. My mother had to remind me that if you try to do everything, then your husband won't be able to do anything to help you." Simply put, stop trying to be superwoman all the time and let your man be your superman. Let him help you.

6. "I’m only human. I will not put unnecessary pressure on myself."

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I remember when I first got married, I put so much pressure on myself to be a "perfect wife". When I told my husband, he was so confused because he never asked or put that pressure on me, nor did he expect me to be perfect. Turns out, I had put all of this pressure on myself because that's what I thought I was supposed to do.

Despite the #RelationshipGoals, #FitGoals, #WifeyGoals, #CareerGoals, #MomGoals…there is no such thing as a perfect wife, perfect body, perfect mother, perfect girlfriend, or a perfect friend. Moreover, there's a difference between inspiration and imitation. So, what may work for someone else, their relationship, or their lifestyle, may not work for you. You have to do what works for you.

Tell yourself: If I want to truly receive what God has for me, then I have to embrace my authenticity.

7. "My 'no' can be powerful and polite at the same time."

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I used to struggle with saying the word "no", but then I'd wonder why I felt so drained and so overwhelmed with anxiety; why I was doing things that I dreaded or didn't enjoy; why I was supporting so many people who weren't willing to do the same for me; or why I found myself surrounded by people who drained my energy.

Now, I realize how liberating it is to say things like, "No, I don't have time. No, I don't want to do it. No, we can't hang out. No we can't be friends. No, unfortunately I can't make it." Sometimes, a "no" to everyone else is a "yes" to yourself…and that's more than OK. It's necessary.

8. "My timeline is not everyone else’s timeline."

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People love to constantly quote: "We all have the same 24 hours in a day" to justify why we should be doing more of whatever. However, I loved when Kiah McBride tweeted: "You don't have the same 24 hours as XYZ celebrity. XYZ celebrity has a team, assistants, chefs, trainers, etc. at their fingertips. They're not doing everything alone or by themselves, so they have more time to focus on their primary tasks."

Even the mere fact that I'm a woman who doesn't have kids is another example of how my 24 hours are drastically different from a woman who has children.

Nothing happens overnight. Don't let Instagram trick you into thinking you're going to have insta-success, an insta-bae, or an insta-career or business. Things take time, and we're not always privy to the sacrifices that come before the success, or the growth that comes before the glow-up. Trust the process, and trust the timing and the fact that what is meant to be will happen when it's meant to be.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

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Featured image by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Originally published on August, 25, 2019

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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