Dear Single Black Woman — this article isn’t about a magic bullet that will make your dating challenges obsolete. This article is about showing you that you’re the magic bullet that can make your dating challenges obsolete.
My name is Francesca Hogi and I am a love and life coach. Over the past 6 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of single women across the U.S. and abroad, more than half of whom were professional black women. I also host a podcast where I interview experts and people from different backgrounds about love.
Oftentimes my clients (and even strangers) tell me things that they’ve never said out loud to another person. Because of my work and my natural inclination to stick my nose into other peoples’ love lives, I get up close and personal with people’s love beliefs, challenges, and triumphs in a way most never will.
As a black woman myself who spent the majority of my adult life seeking my forever partner, I can personally relate to the frustrations, challenges and realities of dating today as a professional black woman.
However, I truly believe that most, if not all, problems facing single black women looking for love today can be solved. By you. You’re that powerful! Here’s how.
#1 Commit To An Empowered Love Mindset
Your mindset is everything. Your love mindset is your love destiny.
If you doubt the kind of love you want is possible for you, or that the odds are impossibly stacked against you, or that you’re “too intimidating” or men only want you for sex — whatever you believe you will continue to experience.
That’s because basic psychology and life experience teaches us a fundamental truth:
Humans want to be right about what we believe more than we want to be happy.
When you believe that love is something you don’t get to have, you will make yourself right about that belief. Your subconscious will powerfully steer you to create that reality, both through your perception and your attraction to those who will ultimately leave you feeling unloved.
You are not victim. However, American culture is infected with a victim mindset, which I define as any attachment to a disempowering story.
When it comes to black women, the single most disempowering story culture tells us is around love and relationships. An easy example of this is the “black men ain’t sh*t” narrative that’s reinforced over and over again, from media portrayals, to incarceration statistics, to the single black mother trope, to tales of serially unfaithful partners and men “on the down low.”
The flip side of this narrative is that of the strong, single black woman who simply doesn’t have any viable options if she wants lasting love with a dedicated partner.
Overlooked, unloved, abused and unappreciated. What could be a more disempowering narrative and identity to embrace than that?
We tweet #BlackGirlMagic to celebrate our beauty, drive, creativity, intellect and entrepreneurial spirit. I know the most amazing, badass, professionally successful black women who would never in a million years believe a disempowering story about their ability to succeed in their chosen career.
But when it comes to love, all too often that confidence and determination goes out the window. Instead of Black Girl Magic, the story becomes “Black Girl Tragic” — the overlooked, least desirable, doomed-to-be-alone-forever fate of the modern black woman. Either that, or she settles for someone who doesn’t value her (be he black, white, or otherwise).
In case you’re thinking about all the disheartening statistics out there about black women and dating, let me make something absolutely clear. It is absolutely true that on average, my white clients have a far easier time getting dates online. It’s also true that when I was online, I had no problem getting tons of dates (once I figured out what I was doing, and more importantly — decided the statistics didn’t apply to me).
I don’t want to talk about statistics here. I want to talk about making the statistics irrelevant for you. Because you are far more than a statistic. I want to talk about you believing — truly believing — that love is your destiny.
Depending on your starting point, it can take a lot of inner work to combat these disempowering narratives. But you are a black woman! You’ve done it before — it’s not like America has some long history of telling black women we can succeed as entrepreneurs, CEO’s and tastemakers. But yet — here we are in 2020, where black women owned businesses are the most profitable of any demographic in the U.S.
Think about that for a moment. Were there obstacles in the way of our mothers, grandmothers and beyond? Were there mountains of statistics “proving” how sh*t-out-of-luck black women were in America?
But we overcame that pervasive messaging — we believed we were so much more than that, and so we changed the narrative. We haven’t reached our full potential, because our potential is unlimited. But we have made enormous strides in the face of huge obstacles and the future is even brighter for black women everywhere.
If you don’t yet know how to release those old disempowering narratives, don’t worry. The first and most important step is for you decide that you will find a way.
#2 Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is an incredibly important practice in experiencing and attracting love. Love is abundant if you choose to make it so. Love is not a thing that exists outside of yourself. Love is a life force that is a fundamental part of who you are.
I see so many black women who equate romantic love with negative, low emotions like fear, scarcity, bitterness and resentment. These emotions are powerful in reinforcing the same negative beliefs and disempowering mindset that keep love at bay. They are the literal opposite of love.
Gratitude for the love inside of you is important. Gratitude for your inherent desire for connection and intimacy is important. Forget about “thirst” — embrace your fundamental human need for love and connection. Let it fuel you, not deplete you.
Gratitude is a practice. I challenge you to make it a priority in your everyday life. How can you start to be more loving? Towards others and more importantly, towards yourself? How can you observe love in others and find it inspiring? How much love can you find in the world if you commit to seeking it out, honoring it, and feeling grateful for its existence?
Gratitude and love are nearly identical emotions. A love gratitude journal is a good place to start in training yourself to focus on the love within you and around you.
#3 Know That You Are Worthy Just Because You Exist
You are high achieving. Which is beautiful and inspiring and #BGM and all that. But your worth does not come from your achievements. You worth doesn’t come from your beauty, your success, or your ageless skin. Those are all wonderful things, but they aren’t what makes you worthy.
You are worthy of love. You are worthy of respect. You are worthy of true intimacy. You are worthy of having loving relationships with people who see your worth and their own.
You are worthy of these things because you exist. Because you were born into this world. If you doubt this universal truth, I invite you to reflect on a child in your life that you love. Maybe your own, or a niece or cousin or godchild. When that child was born, what did they have to do to be worthy of love?
Nothing, of course. They were born deserving love. And the same goes for you. Regardless of who may have told you anything different (in words or actions), you are worthy.
Cultivating your self worth is an investment of time and focus that will yield huge dividends in all areas of your life, and love is no exception.
Regardless of what your logical brain tells you about your belief in your worthiness, if you aren’t happy with your love life I encourage you to consider that the real culprit is much more deeply rooted, outside the reach of your logical mind.
As a black woman in our culture, you certainly can’t blame yourself for any negative or harmful subconscious beliefs. You didn’t choose them — you formed them a long, long time ago.
The first step in changing those negative love beliefs is to choose to treat yourself as though you are worthy, even if you don’t 100% believe it yet. For you, this might be saying no to romantic partners who don’t treat you with respect and consistency or who don’t share your love goals. It might be finding the courage to start dating. It might be practicing self compassion.
Start where you are and commit to the process of growing deeper in your self worth!
#4 Embrace Connection, Release Competition
I had to stop watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta years ago. I couldn’t take it anymore for one specific reason — the incessant competition between the women.
America doesn’t need more images of catty black women tearing each other down and dissing each other’s hair. America doesn’t need more images of black women believing that other women are scheming on their men. America doesn’t need more images of black women believing that being the flyest or the sexiest or richest woman in the room is what makes you desirable and worthy of love.
Now, I am aware that RHOA is a TV show, highly produced, edited and featuring savvy women competing for something that is truly scarce — airtime.
But for me, it does reflect a real life scarcity mindset that pervades the black conversation about love and relationships. “There’s not enough to go around” is often the prevailing context or subtext of the conversation.
Real life is not The Bachelor — (thank the lord for that!) — there is enough love for you. And everyone else! I don’t believe in romantic competition. You are not for everyone and everyone is not for you. If you want love, your only job is to show up in the world in a way that is most conducive to giving and receiving that love.
You can’t have competition without comparison. Comparison is the enemy of happiness. As long as you are your authentic self, you are not replaceable. Competition doesn’t exist because there is no one else exactly like you. Lift up your sisters and celebrate all the beauty you see in other black women. When you embody love, you become a magnet for love.
How would your love life change if you believed there was more than enough love to go around?
#5 Spread Love and Joy, Not Fear and Despair
It’s time for us to set the tone for how we speak about love. It’s time to stop expecting to be let down in love. It’s time to stop talking about how men (or women) are “trash”.
It’s time to seek out people who lift you up, not those who bring you down. It’s time for you to be that uplifting person for others.
If you don’t know what healthy loving relationships look like, find love mentors. If you find yourself only having depressing conversations about dating and love, seek out more uplifting ones.
If you’re seeking an amen chorus to commiserate about your latest romantic disappointment, think again. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who’s never experienced romantic disappointment. What matters is how you process that disappointment.
If you find yourself generalizing about how hard it is to date as a black woman, stop to consider that there’s another possibility for you.
The more undateable you feel, the more important it is for you to date.
Dating is important, and many single black women do far too little of it. Dating with the right intention (essentially — to co-create connection) teaches you all sorts of invaluable relationship skills. Vulnerability, emotional and physical intimacy, compromise, setting healthy boundaries, and looking for the good in others are all skills that smart dating can help you develop.
If you have a lack of skill around getting dates, start with examining your love mindset and a commitment to learning how to date smarter.
The single most important factor in your love journey is how you feel about it. If you’ve bought into the lie that as a black woman love is unlikely for you, it’s time to align your love beliefs with your love desires.
You have far more power to co-create the love life of your dreams than you know. And you deserve nothing less.