*In recent years there has been a movement to put an emphasis on self-care and self-love. It appears Black women are the largest group of people taking this journey. Dana Marie Williams author of “I Dare You to Love Yourself” is one of those women! On her journey, she realized the impact practicing mental health made in her life and now she’s helping others achieve the same experience.
I had the opportunity to interview Williams and get insight into how she became an advocate for self-promotion.
When did you start making self-love a priority in your life?
Throughout my life, especially in my career as a television producer, my job can be extremely rigorous on my mentals. The hours, the power struggle of balancing multiple projects, prepping talent…can all play a part on your self-esteem. I had people around me that would make me doubt myself on whether I was good enough to even make it in this entertainment industry or not. I needed to give myself a friendly reminder of who I am and why I needed to always be kind to myself because the world around me wasn’t so nice. In my younger years, I was bullied often and entered into some toxic relationships along the way, which led me to look inward instead of seeking validation from others around me. So this book became a purpose for me. A purpose for me to be a beacon of love and light to other Black women that look like me and have overcome some challenges like me as well.
What part of your journey inspired you to write your book?
My inspiration for this book was very personal. I kept finding myself in these unfulfilled relationships and friendships that really weren’t serving me in a good way. I had to become more self-aware of my reasons for keeping these people around me. At first, it was to feel love, even if it wasn’t always genuine, but then I also hated conflict or confrontation so I didn’t want to rock the boat or be an issue. But, I had to be real with myself and understand that my energy, my light, and my presence was all a gift I was giving out for free!
I began doing some self-reflecting and healing on myself and learned everyone should not have access to my gifts, especially if their energy didn’t match mine. I fear so many of us have these same gifts and we allow toxic or low vibrational energy around us that we shouldn’t. I want to inspire people to want more for themselves and learn they deserve more!
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As a Black woman, how important is it to you that Black women experience and practice self-love?
OH MY GOODNESS! It’s one of the most important things a woman can do for themselves. To wholeheartedly love themselves unconditionally and be unapologetic about it. Every day we encounter stresses and energies that take a toll on our minds and our body. I created a daily ritual for myself…One I say a positive affirmation, two I set an intention I want to manifest – this can be as easy as just telling yourself to have a good day – and three I meditate or pray. We as women take care of everyone else around us, but can’t find the time to take care of ourselves. My goal is to change this narrative and perpetuate healthy self-love and care.
There is a self-love movement on Tik Tok and more Black women are learning to take care of themselves. They are using books like “I Dare You to Love Yourself” to kickstart their journey. How does it feel to be a part of this influence?
It feels amazing! It’s so empowering to encourage others to love themselves unconditionally and to really take care of themselves mentally and emotionally. I can easily say, ‘I love myself flaws and all,’ but the truth is it’s always an uphill journey of acceptance. I want people to understand that self-love is a consistent journey. I’m a huge advocate of positive reinforcement of self. I try not to allow negative thoughts to overwhelm my spirit. Instead of focusing on who I am not, I focus on who I’ve grown to be. I want every person to learn how to be kind to themselves on a daily basis, even if you feel like you’ve done something wrong in your journey, forgive yourself and others will follow.
Why do you think some people need to be encouraged to love themselves?
People can be way too hard on themselves. Your negative thoughts can consume you. I am a firm believer of you are what you think and you are what you project onto people. So why not choose positivity and love. My book is a call to action for individuals to learn to be kind to themselves, even when the world around them isn’t always the best.
What do you hope will be the biggest takeaway from “I Dare You To Love Yourself?”
My biggest takeaway is for women is to be selfish. I have a chapter in my book that talks about protecting your peace and eliminating anything that no longer serves you. Essentially you are being selfish with your time and your energy because those things are precious and priceless. I want to express it is okay to put yourself first when you’ve been putting yourself second or even third. Go on that shopping spree, go buy that book or bag you wanted. Take that day off to recenter yourself, these things are all about being self-aware of what your wants and needs are. Lastly, I want women to mediate and harness their feminine energy. We all have the power to manifest whatever our hearts desire, but we need to focus and be confident in ourselves.
If you are in need of guidance or an extra push to start your journey William’s book is a great start. If you are already on your journey it’s a great read to help you stay on track.
Purchase “I Dare You to Love Yourself” on Amazon or your local Barnes & Noble.