I was inspired to write this article after listening to Diana Ross’ hit theme song from the movie “Mahogany.” In the song, Diana asks; “Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to, do you know?” Unfortunately, many women do not know where they are going nor where they are headed. Sadly, most women spend too much time focusing upon and caring for everyone else and often forget to care for themselves. Self neglect may not be intentional, but it’s detrimental to a woman’s physical and mental health nonetheless. My mother is a prime example of someone who looks out for everyone else before herself. She would go without new shoes to make sure my siblings and I had shoes. She’s the kind of person who’d give you her last dime and think nothing of it. On the surface, this type of behavior seems noble and thoughtful, but this kind of “love” is not healthy. I used to think that looking out for “number one” was a sign of arrogance. However, I have learned that I could never truly love anyone else if I didn’t love myself first.
One of the first steps to loving one’s self is setting aside time to be alone. If you are fortunate enough to have a lot of time on your hands, plan a fun, yet solitary weekend. If you are laden with responsibilities, set aside one evening a week to have a Mahogany Night. A Mahogany Night is a very intimate evening with your total self–no man, no kids, no cell phone, no home phone, and no television. In order to indulge in a Mahogany Night, you will need the following: your favorite bubble bath, candles, petals from your favorite flower, a flute filled with your favorite drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), a journal or notepad, a mirror, and your favorite soft music. Once you’ve settled into the bathtub, allow yourself to surrender to the quietness. Become enraptured by the scented candles as they perfume the air. Notice how the candle light reflects orange and red hues upon your skin. Close your eyes and feel the silky lather melting down the nape of your neck like buttery candle wax. Listen to your heart beat as you gently caress your neck, your breasts, your thighs, and your arms. Let all the frustration, anxiety and fear from the day slowly dissipate as you sink deeper into your soapy refuge, deeper into yourself.
Take out your journal and read your thoughts. If you don’t normally write in a journal, record your thoughts and write down your dreams and goals in the notepad. Ask yourself if you’re doing what it takes to make your dreams a reality. Are you so busy and consumed with life that you don’t dream anymore? Can you envision yourself living out your dreams? Are you your number one fan or your biggest critic? Jot down ways of how you can become you’re number one fan and direct all your energies towards cultivating and strengthening your intellect and gifts. Write down and memorize Bible scriptures or quotes that encourage you to believe in yourself. Stop depending upon the approval of others to validate you. Then ask yourself if you’re trying to keep up with the Joneses? If so, stop wasting your time and be the designer original that God created you to be.
Men are wonderful, but I think that women are absolutely fascinating. We’re unique creatures that are capable of nurturing multitudes, but we must first learn to nurture ourselves. We must learn how to nurture ourselves and incorporate it into our lifestyles. Daily affirmations work wonders on the soul and self esteem. Have you read Max Erdmann’s “Desiderata”, Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman”, or better yet Nikki Giovanni’s “Ego Tripping”? Read and re-read these timeless treasures, allowing the words to penetrate your soul.
As you soak in your soapy retreat, listen to songs like “It’s My Turn” and “Do You Know” by Diana Ross, “I am Changing” from the Dream Girls soundtrack, and “Open Up My Heart” by Yolanda Adams. These songs can help you begin to focus upon yourself. You should also listen to songs like “Naughty Girl” by Beyonce when you want to get into that sensual zone. So what you need to shed a few pounds or lose those love handles, you still look fabulous and should love every inch of your body. Look in the mirror and examine yourself. Ask yourself if you love your body even if it doesn‘t look the way you want it to. Does your outer beauty truly mirror your inner beauty? Ladies, we need to realize that if we don’t think we are sexy, beautiful or sensual, no one else will.
Hopefully, a Mahogany Night will become part of your weekly routine and your vocabulary. You’ll tell your man that you need a Mahogany Night and he’ll give you your space or someone can babysit the children as you take time for yourself. Our mothers had their Calgon Nights, let’s have our Mahogany Nights.
Ladies, do you neglect yourself for others? What do you do to make yourself feel appreciated?
P.S.- Remember everything has beauty including YOU. IT just takes a true D.I.V.A to see it.
© 2012, Shalena D.I.V.A. – Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.