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When you open your mouth, who is talking?

Have you ever said:

“I can’t afford…”

“I don’t deserve…”

“I don’t have the time to…”, particularly when it comes to your self-care?

Do you find yourself spending money on your children, your company, or your cause FIRST, thus sacrificing your needs or at best, making do with what’s left?

The leftovers are usually exhaustion, stress, no appreciation or recognition for your “sacrifices,” lack of fulfillment, and no money-strapped for cash.

If any of this sounds achingly familiar, you may want to consider that you don’t value you.

If you valued you the way you value your child’s education, you would put you first. You know what you have done – research school districts, jockey for college prep classes or foreign language courses, or get them into the school/college that will get them the connections and credibility for a lifetime.)

Let me explain.

People pay for and spend time on what they value. Period. No one has to twist his or her arm to get it done.

If you are not putting money and time into you, you don’t value you.

I can hear the outcry: “But Dr. Venus, my kids NEED me! My business NEEDS me! My church, charity or black-sheep family member NEEDS my help! It is MY responsibility! If I don’t step up and handle it, who will? ”

Who will indeed?

A dear colleague’s daughter had two extreme run-ins at her middle school. She and her husband sold their house and moved to another part of town that had better schools.

Quite frankly, I was impressed with her—as a parent.

When I asked her how her exercise regimen was going, she had not been in the gym because she was SO busy.


How about taking that course that would teach her how to delegate? Her response: too expensive, with the move and all.

I see.

What about going to yoga or to the spa for a treat? She said that is too frivolous.

Well, I guess she told me.

She asked me, “Why do I keep putting myself off?”

I told her, “Because you are rewarded for it.”

Black women are rewarded for self-sacrifice with social recognition, approval (i.e., good parent, dedicated work, loyal friend, etc.) and by internal drivers that keep our identity in place.

An internal driver could be, “I’m not going to be like my dad.” Your whole life then becomes the playground where you act out how much you are NOT like your dad. (i.e., how you run your business, how you raise your children, etc.)

Except the more things change, the more things stay the same.

And you inevitably end up acting just like your dad – doing the things you despised or conversely not being able to react when it really is necessary.

So you are a prisoner.

You’ve become a slave to outward recognition or inward domination. What’s running the show is your history with your parents instead of a created relationship with yourself.

This dance puts a lid on how much money you can make, how much money you will ask for, and how much money you can tolerate.

If you don’t think you deserve it or have to earn it because you don’t want to be a ‘user’ like momma, you will never give yourself internal permission to prosper easily because it will go against everything on which you have build your sense of self.

Success and self-worth are intimately linked.

As a strong black woman, if you have to do it alone, your success is going to take a very long time to bloom.

Your net worth will never exceed your self-worth.

So how can you turn this around?

First things first: awareness of who’s talking when you are speaking.

Here are 3 tools to get you started:

1. Historical Self: The ‘Historical Self’ has nothing to do with you because it was there before you were born. It is like the water you swim in. It is based on how others see and interact with you and how you dance with them.

Take a piece of paper and write down who you are for yourself as a historical idea. That means your race, gender, and sexuality. Then write down all of the assumptions and expectations that go with that Self. Lastly, write down the attributes of your Historical Self.

2. Inherited Self: There is a saying: you can pick your friends but not your family. Your ‘Inherited Self’ is directly linked to your family dynamic.

When I was in West Africa, I was sitting on a bus eating an orange. A young man said to me, “You are American.” I was flattered. I said, “How did you know?” His response, “Americans don’t share.” I gave him half of the orange. My point is every neighborhood culture has an economic expectation.

Write down your birth order, role in the family, neighborhood code of honor, economic expectation. Then, write down the assumptions and expectations for each. Now, write down the attributes for each.

3. Reactionary Self: Think personal. The ‘Reactionary Self’ was born when life broke your heart. It is the you that said, “NEVER again” or “I’ll show you, ” I’m on my own” or “Why me?”

Something happens and you decide something about you, about the others involved, and about God/Life.

Identify the earliest incident and what you decided. Then write down how that decision has shaped your career, your body, your relationships, and your money. Write down the limits of that decision as well as the attributes.

Once you have done this work, be aware. Ask yourself this question, “When I open my mouth, who is speaking?” Notice if it is the Historical Self, the Inherited Self, or the Reactionary Self.

There is nothing wrong with these three–but they do have limits.

If you are interested in living without limits, you must invent an entire new relationship with yourself. I called that invention a ‘CREATED SELFCreated Self.’ This is the work I do with my clients.

This is where the richness of life comes in.

This is where you break generational curses–for good.

This is where your net worth skyrockets!

Let me know your thoughts. Post you musings. I will respond.

Lastly, help a sister out. Please And share widely with other sisters who would benefit from these teachings/tools. She will thank you for it—! as so I.

With all the love my heart can hold…

Dr. Venus Opal Reese

About the Author

Dr. Venus Opal Reese is a staggeringly effective Business Mentor for Black Women, who is in the business of teaching purpose-driven high achieving sisters (who’ve walked through life’s fire) how to create, grow, and leverage a 6 or 7 figure business that is rooted in their worth. Because she too has walk through life’s fire—and turned it into a proven business model that generates millions for my her clients—she knows what it takes to produce unprecedented results. Visit today for your free training and more information.