why BIPOC self-sacrifice
“I feel guilty.”
These words came from a new client of mine, who was leaving her job…
…and feeling really guilty about it.
They needed her.
They were going to struggle without her and everything she’s doing.
She felt like she was hurting them, just because she was making a decision that was good for her.
I know you relate to this.
So, let’s talk about self sacrificing, and why we do it.
(Because in case you didn’t know, that’s what you’re doing when you put someone else’s needs before your own.)
Self sacrificing is a symptom of living in a white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal world.
Let’s start with the patriarchal side of it:
As folks who are socialized as women, we are deemed “good” when we sacrifice for others.
We know that we’re supposed to be “good,” “obedient,” and we’re definitely supposed to take care of other people.
If we are not sacrificing ourselves and our needs at the expense of others, we are deemed as “wrong,” “selfish,” and not the right kind of women and femmes.
This only gets exacerbated as we move into complex roles as partners and parents. We are expected to put our partners before ourselves. Their…
..it’s all expected to be above our needs.
This gets even deeper when we are parents (or, god forbid, we decide not to be parents).
Any time we do something for ourselves, like take a trip, spend some money, take an extra hour of free time..
…we are selfish, we are not caring, and we are not acting the way that women and femmes are “supposed” to act.
This also relates to white supremacy, because in white supremacist culture, people of color do not matter.
When you don’t matter, your wants and your desires are unimportant, and as a result, we internalize that and begin “naturally” self-sacrificing.
Last but not least, this relates to capitalism because in capitalism, our bodies, our wants and our needs are less important than money.
Money & the creation of wealth & goods is the most important thing in a capitalist society, and we learn from a very young age that our wants and our needs are an obstacle to growth.
When you pile all those things together, it’s no wonder that we self-sacrifice.
But here’s the problem:
You can never thrive while you are putting yourself dead last.
Thriving is all about going after what you want, and having what you want.
If you are moving through life from a place of what you want not mattering… then you will never get it, and as a result, you will never thrive.
That being said, I know it’s not easy.
You worry that you’ll let people down if you prioritize yourself first.
You genuinely do have people to care for.
And if you’re being honest, putting yourself first feels really fucking unsafe in so many ways.
But here’s what I want you to hear:
It is possible to prioritize yourself and still receive love.
It is possible to put yourself first and still take great care of the folks you love.
It’s possible to put yourself first, and it is necessary.
If you’re ready to try, here’s the question you start with:
If I were treating myself like I was important, what would I do differently? What boundaries would I uphold? Who would be in my life (and who wouldn’t?) How would I spend my time? What would I create space for?
There are going to be really large things that you would change..
..but there will also be really small, tangible things that you would change.
Start by testing out the small, tangible things…
…and every time it goes well to make space for one of those things, mark it as evidence that you can put yourself first.
When you answer these questions and you start taking small steps towards prioritizing yourself and your needs, that’s how you change everything and that’s how you start living the life that you know that you deserve to live.
If you’re ready to put yourself first, but know you’ll need some support to do it, I want to invite you to apply to work with me.
You and I will talk about what gets in your way of prioritizing yourself and your needs…
..and we’ll talk about how you can begin to feel safe thriving and prioritizing yourself without sacrificing everything and everyone else in your life.
I promise you it’s possible.
If you want to live in a world where you treat yourself like you’re important, then apply here, and I’ll be in touch with a personalized video telling you what exactly you need to do to live your thriving life right now, and how I can help you do that through coaching.
I can’t wait to talk to you soon,
We Can’t Thrive Alone!
The best part about building a Revolutionary life is knowing that your fam’s got your back. Join the Revolutionary Changemakers of Color Facebook group for women and femmes of color who want to create change, and do it THEIR way.