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You Are Invaluable!

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You Are Invaluable!

5 steps to your emotional well-being.
Eleanor Hinton Hoytt
Eleanor Hinton Hoytt More by this author
Feb 07, 2012 at 09:00 AM

The more you learn to value your true self, the better able you’ll be to make choices that support your emotional well-being. That doesn’t mean it will always be easy, especially when obstacles get in the way (and they will!). Here are five strategies that can help you stay on the path of good self-care.

Trust Your Intuition

Your intuition is your inner intelligence, a voice that guides you in the right direction—even when logic would lead you elsewhere. Thus, in order to access your intuition, you must be connected with your self. You must be able to trust that you have access to the answers you need for your life. If you don’t have a sense of peace about a decision, don’t feel compelled to move forward. Inner turmoil is often a message to be still or move in a different direction. Gather the information you need to make intelligent choices for your life, but accept your intuition as an important source of guidance, too.

Listen to Your Emotions Selectively

Emotions are real, and they offer important messages. They are not necessarily the truth, though, and for this reason, it’s not wise to make decisions based on them. Emotions are based in the moment, ever-changing, influenced by insecurities, and often illogical. You can, however, use your emotions as a guide to teach you more about yourself.

If you are angry or irritated on a regular basis, explore the reasons why and think about ways to resolve the issue. If you are feeling overwhelmed, read that as a sign that you may be trying to do too much too fast or without enough support, and adjust accordingly. Anytime you feel a strong emotion, negative or positive, take time to ask, “What is this emotion trying to tell me?” Then allow yourself time to come down from your emotional “high” (yes, even a negative emotion is a kind of “high”) before acting on it.

Solve Your Problems Honestly

Some Black women spend more time focusing on a problem than they ever spend trying to solve it. Make a decision to look at every problem or challenge as being solvable—or not. If it is a solvable problem, then focus on the solution. If the problem isn’t solvable, then let the problem go. In this way, you’ll be able to focus more of your time and energy on the people and things that matter most to you. Rather than becoming seduced by drama and sucked into worry, you’ll be taking responsibility for solving problems and creating a healthy life.

Face Your Fear

Many Black women never consider the possibility that they could actually have the life they dream of because they are afraid. Fear stops them from moving forward because they don’t want to take risks that will result in failure, rejection, or regret. The truth is that every choice has its share of risk. Whatever it is that you fear, ask yourself, “How can I reduce my anxiety or fear of failure in this situation?” Brainstorm with others; open your mind to options you may not previously have considered. Then stop asking, “What if I fail? What if I don’t have what it takes?” and start asking, “What do I have to do to ensure my success?”

Ask For Help

We already know there’s a downside to being a “strong Black woman,” (you have probably learned it firsthand in your own life) so you know that it’s not possible to carry a heavy load indefinitely without heavy consequences. To create and preserve good emotional health, establish limits for what you can do alone. Honor your own humanity by admitting when you need help. Whether it is as simple as teaching your children to help with household chores or standing up for yourself when your spouse owes child support, expect those around you who benefit from your efforts to also help lighten your load. Ask for help and expect to receive it—from someone who can actually provide it. Honor yourself by admitting when you need a break, and then arrange for one. Schedule a real vacation once a year. You don’t have to go far or spend much—just give yourself a few days to lay your burden down.

About Author
Eleanor Hinton Hoytt
Eleanor Hinton Hoytt, a tireless advocate for eliminating health disparities among women and communities of color, serves as the president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative. Hinton Hoytt produced the groundbreaking book Tomorrow Begins T Continue reading