Dear Visible Man:
Why do some Black females hang on to negativity and allow this to impact their interactions with other black women? I wonder if this is the reason why relationships don’t work within the black community. The women that I grew up with have become flaky. The older I get, the less patience I have with this type of behavior. I am embarrassed to say that I have only a few black female friends. Do you have any suggestions?
30-year old AA Female, Seattle
Dear Young Woman,
You have asked a very interesting question. First, I would encourage you not to be embarrassed regarding having “only a few black female friends”. Instead I would suggest that you explore the quality and meaning you are seeking in these relationships.
As to the earlier question regarding black women hanging on to negativity and allowing it to impact their interactions, it is important to remember that the individual brings to the interaction whatever feelings she may feel about herself. Therefore, if she is “centered,” meaning that her psychological self is reasonably intact (self esteem, self concept and self worth), that resource of positive energy will access the interaction with others. When the psychological self is not intact, i.e. poor self-esteem, concept, worth, then negative energy will no doubt be a factor in the interaction.
In your earlier comment, there was an indication that you have grown up with a specific group of women. Please remember that as an individual grows, there is the capacity to grow in directions that are different from other members of the group. It may be that you have either outgrown the stated goals of the group or that you are moving in a different direction.
As the individual grows and moves forward into “her being,” there is the desire that other members of the group will be supportive. However, one of the barriers to this is change, which can induce fear, and thus the group may result to specific behaviors to reinforce group membership or work to punish or expel the individual from the group.
A way to resolve this is to acknowledge within the psychological self that the individual has come to the crossroads; the journey with this specific group although long and valued, may now have come to an end. It is time to say farewell and continue walking a path that will be different from the group. As the individual continues to journey (known as LIFE), the focus will be joining or interacting with new “Travelers” with whom the individual can walk a distance and share in the adventures that are to come.
It can be difficult for the individual or group members to bring the relationship to conclusion, and consequently, tensions can result. However the strategy can be to exit with the desire that one day, the members may reunite again. Nevertheless, it is upon the individual to know when it is time to leave and to have belief, faith and trust in one’s journey.
Although your underlying question has to do with negativity within the black community, understanding that your concerns are about the community in which you grew up (hence the issue is not about racial grouping), just remember that any community is a magnification of the smaller group.
Rather than focus on the group, identify your wants for your journey and go forth. Hopefully the group and the community will be there to welcome you upon your return.
“When the relationship/journey is over, it’s over. Look towards the future. A new one will begin.”
-Ten Flashes of Light for the Journey of Life
The Visible Man