Self-Love for Survival By Stephanie Barbee, LCSW Picture By Canva

By | Feb 8, 2024

As a mental health practitioner, I witness and hold space for many diverse types of
experiences. On good days, I hold space for people who are doing the best they can
with what they have. On the good days, I celebrate attempts, achievements, and
sometimes even failures (because we can’t succeed if we never try). These are the
days when I can find nourishment in my work.
Then there are not-so-good days. On the not-so-good days I hear, see, and experience
people at some of the lowest points in life. The weight of this is even more difficult when
the things that often bring us joy and uplift us are sources of challenge. Today, I’m
talking about music and specifically the Meg/Nicki feud. As a millennial music fan, I
have seen and heard my fair share of ‘beefs’ – T.I vs Lil’ Flip, Nas vs Jay-Z (epic still),
Ja Rule vs 50-cent, and the list could go on. None have ever broken my heart as much
as the current one and I’ll tell you why.
In my life as a Black woman raised in the southern United States, I have had to fight for
my sanity. I have had to fight for my value and my worth and most of all I’ve had to fight
for the right to love myself. This isn’t the easiest of feats. Making and maintaining the
progress I need, requires lots of isolation, support from specific environments at specific
times, and a general difference in how life is navigated. This includes not specifically
seeking out hurtful, harmful content or distractions. Yet, when one of my favorite
spiritual gurus is in TEARS because of this beef, I have to check into it. Although I
haven’t listened to the song (I saw it described as 4+ minutes of psychological
warfare…not interested), it does make me more aware…. We need self-love for
survival.
Although there are many definitions of self-love, the essence of it for me is to be able to
make choices that are for your well-being and happiness. This might support us in any
number of areas in our lives, but the goal is not to settle. So many talented individuals
have had to ‘settle’ for the vitriol that exists in the music industry while making choices

to share their stories and support people in similar situations. Honestly, between the
challenges with relationships, the spotlight on all aspects of their personal life, and
attacks from all angles, how do we ensure the health and longevity of our beloved
artists if we don’t even acknowledge their humanity? Strong, supportive circles and
communities do not surround everyone.
I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even understand all the feelings I and others are
experiencing. I know one thing, entertainment for me is not tearing a person down. I
know the harsh reality of suicide survival and it’s not something I would wish on my
worst enemy. My takeaway is this: If you don’t make ways to fortify yourself in a love
that prioritizes your happiness, peace, and well-being, navigating this life can be that
much more challenging. Even if that means stepping back or away from money,
lifestyles, and work industries that no longer support or serve us, we deserve to know
we love ourselves through word, deed, and action.

#musicandblackmentalhealth #blacktherapists #selflove

About The Author
Stephanie Barbee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri. She serves primarily people of the global majority raised in the United States who seek to understand their identities, overcome traumatic experiences, or explore how to move through a world that sees them as invisible. Stephanie also provides workshop facilitation, training, and workshops. Link: https://www.cliniciansofcolor.org/clinicians/spectrum-of-healing-llc/

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