3 Strategies These Confident Black Women Are Using To Overcome Their Ego

Every day can feel like our ego is being tried and tested.

Workin' Girl

Ego is a hella hard battle to beat, sis. Every day can feel like our ego is being tried and tested. It's always ready to show out, and sometimes it's hard to hold her back. I think we can all agree, Ms. Ego is always ready to pop off. Did your roommate drink your apple juice? Ms. Ego wants to pop off. Co-worker threw shade in the Zoom meeting? Ms. Ego is trying to pop off. Did someone beat you to the last seat on the subway? Ms. Ego said, "It's. on. SIGHT." Whatever the situation is, Ms. Ego is a part of ourselves we are all trying to navigate.

I've found myself in many situations where I've gone head to head with my ego. I have to admit there were times when she would win. The battles I have lost to my ego I've always looked at as an opportunity for growth. One of the growing pains I've learned about ego is: We should not kill our ego. Why would we destroy something that is a part of us? We shouldn't shame our ego but instead, nurture it. We should look at our egos as a guide to our insecurities. The ego is a beautiful piece of ourselves that is continually transforming. One way I'm changing my ego is by learning how other successful women work through their egos.

I've had the pleasure of speaking with three amazing and successful women who have had to work through managing their egos in their home life, work-life, relationships, etc. Here are their strategies for how they put Ms. Ego to rest.

Building Community to Address Ego

Alechia Reese, Strategist & Co-host of 'Triggered AF'

Courtesy of Alechia Reese

"My ego appears the most when I'm triggered! I started a podcast called Triggered AF with my life coach and sister-friend, Dani Foster, to work through the things that trigger anger and frustrate me. It's necessary to know what activates your ego and also to learn how to manage it. I consider my ego to be my protector and worth-reminder, so it tries to run wild when those are threatened. In the podcast, we work through triggers together, providing invaluable insight to help us all grow.

"I don't believe in defeating my ego. Just as masculine doesn't work as well without feminine. My ego is necessary for sustenance. I don't defeat my ego. I bring her back to her baseline. "

"I'm a firm believer in moderation in all aspects of life. I began working on controlling my thoughts and conscious mind in my mid-20s. Your mind is the most powerful element behind our energetic spirits, so learning to leverage and use it for good was a personal focus of mind. I bring myself back to myself by creating a baseline for who I am, how I want to feel, and who I want to be. When I feel my ego stepping far past that equilibrium level, I mentally walk myself back - while also giving myself grace for when it's too late."

Fighting to Get What I Deserve

Aja Robinson, Global Sales Director for Fenty Beauty

Courtesy of Aja Robinson

"Growing up, anytime I shared an idea with my mother, she always cheered me on. One of the most memorable ideas I had as a kid---a third-grader, to be exact--- was that I wanted to go to Howard University. Not only was Howard a long way from home, as I grew up in Wichita, Kansas, tuition for this university would be costly for my middle-class upbringing. Despite the many reasons one could think of to deter a third-grader from this big idea, my mother was my biggest champion and eventually made sure I'd see this idea to fruition. Confidence was instilled in me at a young age; I would also say my ego was boosted in a healthy way.

"Many would say, leave your ego at the door when negotiating, but I knew I needed to approach the situation with a certain level of independence and self-centeredness. Speaking up for what you deserve can be so challenging."

"A time I leaned into my ego to work for me was the first time I negotiated a salary. My first experience with salary negotiations was my first job out of college. I worked in retail while in school, and upon graduation, I was offered a promotion into a new role. I was beyond thrilled about the opportunity, but the salary was not precisely what I was expecting or in line with the value I was already contributing to the business.

"Long story short, I went back to the owners of the company and negotiated a higher salary. They didn't give me exactly what I wanted, and that was OK because as I really enjoyed working for the company and probably would've taken the job regardless, but most importantly, I appreciated the fact that they listened and acknowledged my value to the organization. In this particular situation, I'd say there was a nice balance of ego and self-confidence."

Channeling Spirituality to Build Humility

Sade Solomon, Entrepreneur & Safe Space Creative

Courtesy of Sade Solomon

"The Holy Spirit has helped me defeat my ego! Here's the thing, there are a lot of the things I know I need to handle or overcome. I cannot do it in my strength. As a believer, I am super reliant on God's power to work through me because I cannot do it alone. If I had a choice, I wouldn't forgive anyone who has wronged me. I would be seeking out revenge right now! But I am reminded that God fights my battles, so I don't have to; I find strength in Him, to forgive. It is a journey because as long as we live: 'People will be people.' We will be wronged, hurt, talked about, and mishandled; we can't control what happens to us, only how we respond. The greatest strategy to defeating my ego is allowing God to help me.

"I have noticed a huge gap between who I think I am and how God has created me and views me. I haven't fully caught up to the depth of my worth in the eyes of God, but I am getting there. This gap is what I define as low self-confidence and worth."

"When God reads me and shows me a mirror of myself, that is a sure-fire way to calm my ego down. I don't think that I am always aware of being prideful or self-absorbed, even in my best attempt to be mindful. Interestingly, we think we know so much about ourselves until God shows us those ugly parts of us that we don't think are there. Hello, church!"

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Featured image courtesy of Sade Solomon

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.


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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