The basic element of learning how to embrace your femininity is to cultivate your love of self. Learn how to be selfish. I want my sistas to know that there is a difference between being selfish and being self-centered. Selfishness has its purpose. For instance, it is selfish to put your oxygen mask on first before you assist the child or elderly person next to you in the event of the loss of cabin pressure in an airplane. Selfishness is essential for self-preservation. This is not a “bad” thing. Self-preservation is necessary for motherhood and for womanhood. If we don’t learn how to learn how to properly manage our primary resource, which is ourselves, we will easily be depleted and literally be of no use to ourselves or anyone else.
Selfishness means tending to your needs before tending to anyone else and making yourself a priority all the time. Most women are initially resistant to this idea because we interpret it to mean that we must neglect all else at the expense of our own comfort. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When we tend to our own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs first, consistently making ourselves first priority, we automatically become better mothers, sisters, wives, friends, and lovers.
It’s called self-care. Before we can expect any lover, any child, any friend to love us unconditionally, we must learn to give ourselves the love we seek. This plays out in every area of our development and behavior. It’s so easy to tell when I haven’t been caring for myself with love and affection. I’m cranky, crotchety, and critical of everything. I get uptight, high strung, and stiff. I become defensive, aggressive, and domineering. I can be cold, crass, and maybe even cruel. That’s when I know I need more than just good sex or an orgasm, I need an overdose of self-love.
Here are 13 of my tried and true tips on how you can cultivate YOUR dynamic feminine energy so you can live a juicier, more vibrant life!
Spend Time Naked
If you’re like me, you may have a stretch mark, an extra roll, and maybe even a dimple or two. Weight gain/loss, pregnancy, childbirth, and just plain old human growth and develop can leave signs all over our bodies. We are repeatedly fed the message through the media that our bodies must be smooth and pristine and perfect in order to be beautiful. So we spend thousands of dollars on Spanx, corsets, push up bras, and all sorts of things to force our bodies into shape, and are never really satisfied. So we spend even more money going to the gym (not that I’m anti-exercise) and getting wraps and taking pills to lose weight… and are never really satisfied. Spending time naked will help you to become reacquainted with your natural self. You will learn to appreciate your unique, individual beauty and will see it reflected in the way others are attracted to you. Look at your body. Examine it, especially your yoni. Stand over a mirror and see what you look like. Your body is not gross or nasty. It is the embodiment of the divine Feminine. The more time you spend with your body, loving it and adoring it sans clothing, the deeper your relationship with yourself and your lover will become. The idea here is to release shame and guilt.
Wear Your Hair In Its Natural State
I know the debate that rages about relaxers vs. natural hair. Allow me to say this particular tip is perhaps the most subjective, as it is based in my personal experience. I recognize a woman’s ability to choose what is best for her, and I honor that.
According to my research, there is a clear link between the chemicals present in most hair relaxers and the presence of fibroid tumors in the wombs of the women who use them. Many sistas complain about styling natural hair. I can admit that learning to style your natural hair after years of relaxers can be a daunting task. However, learning to love your hair in its natural state is one of the biggest ways to demonstrate a holistic love of self. How can you love yourself if you hate the way YOUR hair grows out of YOUR scalp? Now, I know that many sistas choose to protect their natural hair with wigs, weaves, and braids and some will always swear by the relaxer. Regardless of how you choose to wear your hair — natural, protected, or relaxed — the key lies in embracing your choice wholeheartedly, rocking it proudly, and living unapologetically.
As for me, I choose to wear my hair naturally because it represents such a rich cultural heritage. Our hairstyles often signified what tribe we hailed from, our status within that tribe, and whether we were married or not. Certain hairstyles were worn to denote royalty or to wage war. The art of hair braiding originated in Africa and is as old as the earliest African. During early slavery, hairstyles and other covert methods were used to map out safe houses and routes of escape. For the Black woman, it’s always been more than just hair.
Create Sacred Space
The environment we are surrounded by on a daily basis has a major impact on how our energy flows. If our space is cluttered, dirty, or filled with negative vibrations, then we will reflect that in our inability to think clearly, to feel safe, and to relax. Adding fresh flowers, live plants, and natural fragrances such as essential oils will definitely increase the peace value of your space.
As humans, we thrive on physical touch. As Black women, we have a unique cosmic connection that is often transmitted through the power of touch. As mothers, we see the power of this connection when we cradle a fussy baby or a troubled man. We often forget that we, ourselves, need the power of our touch to heal and soothe us. Through gentle stroking and sensual touching, we mend and repair our own damaged energy field. Have you ever noticed how our elder mothers would “rock and rub” when they were troubled? We should open ourselves up to the power of our own touch so as to recognize the touch of a lover.
Since we’re talking about healing touch, I figured we might as well touch on masturbation (pun intended.) Masturbation is not a bad word or a sin. Fetuses in the 2nd and 3rd trimester of gestation masturbate in utero, not for any sexual relief but because it’s soothing and it simply feels good. Most women report masturbating at least once a week, according to a new study in the Journal of Sex Research. Researchers from Arizona State University analyzed interviews with 20 women who were recruited through local listings and Craigslist. While the sample size was small, it included a variety of ages, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Here are some of the findings:
All women masturbate—at least, in this sample. All 20 of the women reported that they had masturbated at least once in their lives, though their answers ranged from just a few times ever to at least once a day.
Sex toys are in. Overall, 18 of the 20 women reported using sex toys either solo or with a partner.
We’re clueless about what other women do in bed. Most of the participants said they thought other women self-penetrate with sex toys or their fingers while masturbating, but interestingly many of the women said they don’t get off this way, instead focusing mainly on clitoral stimulation. We’re not saying this needs to be your next brunch topic or anything, but it’s good to know there’s no “normal” way to masturbate—so do what feels good!
Sometimes it can feel like work. Even though the women were mostly positive about solo sex, they also noted a few frustrating aspects—like when they can’t have an orgasm or when they masturbate because they didn’t finish with their partner.
Some women still think it’s a ‘man thing.’ A few of the women in the study said that men were more likely to masturbate—or at least more likely to do it on the regular. Some also noted that they masturbated more for their male partners (doing it in front of them or during sex) than for themselves. Call us crazy, but masturbation shouldn’t be something that only men get to experience.
It doesn’t need to be a grand, romantic event. Many women reported that it was a no-frills, tension-busting part of their life. In fact, one woman compared her almost-daily masturbation to brushing her teeth while another woman said she likes to start her day by getting off in the shower. Hey, that’s one way to start your morning with a smile.
Masturbation makes you happy. Many of the women reported that solo sex was a way to get in tune with their bodies and show self-acceptance. They also reported a ton of awesome benefits, like feeling joy and pleasure, having fun, relieving stress, and helping them experiment to find out what feels good. Plus, you know, orgasms.
One of my favorite things to do that assist me with embracing my feminine spirit and cultivating a sense of self-love is to take what I call a “Goddess Bath.” This is more than a mere hygienic demonstration; it’s a spiritual ritual. I infuse sliced fruit (mainly lemons, limes, and oranges), various herbs and oils, aromatherapy, sound therapy, and soft lighting in a meditative bathing experience that nourishes not only my body but my soul as well. While in this Goddess bath, I usually meditate on those things I desire or need to manifest in my life. Water is a conductor of electricity/energy. I allow myself to become full of intention and orgasmic energy (through deep breathing) and the water magnifies those loving intentions. The entire experience is thoroughly satisfying. I rub the fruit and herbs all over my body and just love on myself. I roll around in the water, making sure my entire body is bathed in that loving energy. I tend to any hygienic or grooming needs I may have. Afterwards, I shower and take cleansing breaths giving thanks for the manifestation of my intentions. Do this at least once a month, sistas, and your feminine energy will once again become dynamic, and you will smell AMAZING!!!
Commit To a Spiritual Practice
I know that many sistas come from Christian backgrounds and may be confused as to which spiritual path to commit to. This is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Study and do your due diligence in your research. Your spirituality is an intensely personal decision that should be made with all wisdom. No matter which path you choose, the one thing that never wavers is the fact that we are Black and Brown women who should cherish their cultural expression of spirituality. The one way that all indigenous peoples can practice a common spirituality is to reverence the ancestors. It is not worshipping the ancestors, rather it is remembering them and holding them in a place of honor as living, relevant members of the family and community. Call out their names, place pictures and sentimental trinkets in a place of honor in your home, leave/pour water for them, and invoke their assistance in decision making. Basically, treat them as though they are still here, because they are. I also encourage developing a practice of meditation. This gets us in touch with our inner self and allows us to tune in to our intuition more closely. When we meditate, we still ourselves to be able to hear instructions from our spirit guides and ancestors who know full well what it means to be a woman of color.
Nourish Your Body
When you eat poorly, don’t exercise, and are overly tired, you will find it difficult to operate at your maximum capacity. Get plenty of sun. Spend as much time outside as possible. Rest your body when she says she needs it.
Set Your Hips Free
Free your hips, pelvis, and yoni to breathe and move. Our bodies HATE being constricted and wearing tight fitting clothes is not only not good for you energetically as it restricts the flow of energy, but it’s also not good for your yoni. She needs air… lots of air.
Panties…Wear pretty panties or no panties at all. Lingerie has a way of upping the sensuality of any woman. There are options for all body types, so don’t limit yourself. Or, you could forgo panties altogether. They are utterly unnecessary except for those few days when we have our menses. If you tend to your vaginal health, going commando can be a real option.
The other way that we can set our hips free is to move them in sacred, feminine movement. The people of the Yoruba tribe of Western Africa say that the women learned how to move from watching Oshun (Goddess of sweet waters, love, and beauty) sway gently in the waters of the river. Yoga teaches us that we hold tension and the energy from emotional trauma in our hips. Belly dancing, twerking, dutty whining, and all other types of rhythmic hip movements assist with breaking up the inertia and causing the kundalini to rise.
Speak Your Truth
In her book, “The Art of Extreme Self-Care,” Cheryl Richardson admonished her readers to develop an “absolute NO list.” These are what I like to call “deal breakers.” This is a list of things that you absolutely do not want to have, see, or do in your relationship with yourself and others. For instance, “No. I will not agree to a project that I know I am not fully committed to.” Conversely, one should develop an “absolute YES list.” Ma’at in everything.
Perfect Your Craft
Specialize in something. Be industrious. Use your talents to create streams of wealth. Black and Brown women have a gift for creating something out of what seems to be nothing. Tapping into what you can do well, and mastering it will increase your self-confidence and your feminine energy exponentially.
Connect With Your Sistas
When Black and Brown women come together, issues are resolved, trade secrets are shared, ancient wisdom is passed down, and young girls learn what it means to be a woman by example. Surround yourself with a network of wise, industrious, balanced, self-loving women. This is how the village concept is nurtured and demonstrated.
Silence Your Inner Critic
Your inner critic rehearses and reinforces the subconscious thought patterns that drive your unconscious behavior, often despite the deep desire to think and act otherwise. Your subconscious is a tape player that simply plays back whatever was recorded. So, if ideas of low self-worth were recorded or programmed into your subconscious, then that’s what will play out in your behavior. Your inner critic is the result of this programming, holding you to standards of being that do not come from you or your people. Your inner critic tells you that you are fat, ugly, unpretty, unattractive, unlovable, undesirable… just “un.” Your inner critic tells you that you look funny or sound funny or taste funny and that everyone is talking about you because of it. Your inner critic keeps you from enjoying a fulfilling relationship with your lover, your children, your family, and yourself. The thing about this inner critic is this; you can silence that voice very easily. Simply begin to install a new program that affirms, uplifts, and encourages you.
This means paying attention to the inner dialogue that you have with yourself. Take notice of how you talk to yourself when you’re “just thinking.” Notice how those thoughts make you feel. Question whether or not those thoughts are serving you or are you just rehearsing an outdated program. Are your thoughts the virus that is causing your system to crash? Remember that you control the thoughts you think, not the other way around. Worry, anxiety, and fear are all very powerful energies that are simply being channeled in a counter-productive manner. Learn to shift that energy so that they reinforce positive and progressive thoughts and ideas in your mind. It may be difficult at first, but with practice, it will become second-nature.
I recommend journaling or blogging or some other form of documenting the ebb and flow of your feelings, thoughts, and sensations as you ascend to womanhood. Silencing the inner critic will bring up many long held beliefs and emotional issues that need to be dealt with and healed. It is critical to remain open to the process of purging the old operating system from your mind and embracing your divine feminine power. You’re going to have days when you cry your eyes out, and others where you want to just sleep all day. The key is to remain patient with yourself, understanding that you ARE in a process. Take it one day at a time. Using the tips I’ve laid out here can assist you with learning to love yourself, which as Whitney Houston said, is the greatest love of all.