Years ago I started referring to myself as a “soft” Black woman. When I thought of that term for myself I thought of it in reference to how I operate emotionally, more so than aesthetically. To be “soft” was to be emotionally honest and true to myself in every moment of the day. It meant leaving resilience and strength at the door, in lieu for a more authentic approach to the joys and burdens of life. It also meant being open to receiving help from others, even though we’ve been conditioned to handle it all by ourselves. This lifestyle change opened the door to mental health treatment, conversations, and more genuine connections where I was seen fully as human versus a caricature or superhero. Accepting “softness” into my life allowed me to finally breathe. I noticed some influencers adopting a similar mantra, especially that of lifestyle influencer and small business owner Jackie Aina. For years she preached a similar ideology without the physical name, and it appeared to resonate heavily with her fan base. Then recently, I saw TikTok user Naya Ford using the same verbiage I’d been using for years and bringing it into the public eye. @nayaaford Anyone else ? #softgirl #selflove #selfimprovement #feminineenergy ♬ energy – Tyla Jane Between Jackie, Naya, and all the other Black women pursuing a softer approach to life, I’m seeing a rise in the “Soft Black woman” lifestyle that quite frankly could be life-changing and saving for us. Both inter and intra-culturally, Black women have been pushed into a caretaker role personally and professionally. We were raised to sacrifice, take shit from others, all while taking care of others. I watched Black women very close to my heart wither away and suffer all due to not feeling as if they could break. They had to hide their tears and emotions, their fears and anxieties. They weren’t allowed to have mental health conditions or spend time licking their wounds, because if they did the world stopped. They didn’t allow anyone to take care of themselves until their dying day. The Strong Black Woman ideology is a generational curse that the “Soft Black Woman” lifestyle completely contradicts in a life-affirming way. That’s why I firmly believe this is something all Black women should adopt into their life. As a Black woman, have you ever had a moment where you were at your wits end, but you were convinced you just had to keep going? There’s no end or break in sight, and so you do what you know, which is pushing on and continuing through the slog of burnout, trauma, and health conditions until you break. You could have mitigated it all by speaking up, stopping, cutting back, and maybe seeing a professional, but because you’re adhering to being “strong,” you don’t until it’s dangerous. Think: substance abuse, health problems, mental health conditions developing or worsening. Adopting a Soft Black Woman lifestyle, versus a Strong Black Woman outlook, allows yourself radical emotional integrity and honesty that you wouldn’t otherwise have. We say that we should have permission to cry and break down, but this lifestyle actually gives you that. Additionally, it allows you to be completely real and honest with yourself when otherwise you wouldn’t. As Black women, we’re allowed to not be OK. We’re allowed to be angry, sad, happy, fearful, goofy, depressed, you name it. However, when we don’t allow ourselves the fullness of our emotional range and spectrum, we cut ourself off in harmful ways. It’s up to us to have our backs. Yes, we should let others help us, which is a part of this lifestyle, but it really starts with just admitting that we aren’t OK to begin with. No one can help us if we don’t let them, and cracking ourselves open and really embracing the scary vulnerability that comes with our humanity, or that should, is what would make all the difference.