February has the honor of being both Black History Month and the month that harbors arguably the biggest love holiday, Valentine’s Day. Let’s explore how history and love intersect in the Black community and how that intersection impacts Black women’s pursuit of both money and purpose in their work.
A Challenging Love Story
Merriam-Webster’s first definition of love is, “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” When you have “strong affection” either for yourself (self-love) or for someone else (romantic or platonic love), or for a group (global or unconditional love) there are three main desires that show up:
- You want the object of your love to be safe and protected.
- You want them to be healthy physically and emotionally.
- You want them to have a sense of being loved, respected, and encouraged.
All three of these desires can be challenging in the Black community. According to 2020 census data, 13.6% of the U.S. population identifies as Black.¹ As minorities with a long history of government-sanctioned violence, torture, rape, and oppression, we are often marginalized in unsafe communities with poor access to health services. Much of this affects Black women disproportionately: 64% of Black children live in single-parent households, predominantly led by Black women.² The pressure to live up to European beauty standards like straight hair also impacts Black women more than men and can chip away at self-esteem. This impact is compounded by the cultural phenomena of jealousy, suspicion, and disrespect rooted in oppression, which is described in Dr. Joy DeGruy’s book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.
Can We Improve Our Love Story?
Most will agree that money can’t buy love, but it can certainly buy you a safer neighborhood, better healthcare providers, and therapy to overcome generational trauma. According to 2021 Department of Labor statistics, Black women earn 63 cents for each dollar earned by a white man.³ This gap is attributed to racism and sexism in our institutions that result in differences in education, opportunities, and pay.
But what about our unconscious beliefs about money, often referred to as our “money story?” For example, if you grew up in a home that was financially unstable, you may become an adult with a “scarcity mindset,” a belief that there will never be enough money to meet your needs. If you grew up in a religious home you may have heard, “The love of money is the root of all evil,” and determined that it is not an honorable pursuit.
Let’s circle back to the definition of love we started with. How do you provide safety, health, and encouragement to those you love without the financial means to do so? Simply stated, you cannot. Therefore, when a loving person does NOT pursue money for the betterment of all, it is an unloving act. The world would be a different place if all the social workers, nurses, teachers, counselors, healers, and heart-centered workers pursued money guilt-free and wholeheartedly. And, just because you hold a corporate job, it doesn’t mean you are not a heart-centered worker. As long as you believe your work serves a higher good, you too are a heart-centered worker.
The answer is yes! With time and attention, we can improve our love and self-love story.
Does Money Intersect with Love and Purpose?
American Heritage defines purpose as, “the object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or goal.” Love combined with work gives us a sense of profound purpose. Apple founder, Steve Jobs famously said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” The late poet and philosopher, Kahlil Gibran gave us one of my favorite quotes, “Work is love made visible.” Multi-billionaire, Oprah Winfrey wisely said, “There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It is why you were born and how you become most truly alive.” Billionaire artist and entrepreneur, Rihanna says, “There’s something so special about a woman who dominates in a man’s world. It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness, and the nerve to never take no for an answer.”
Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs were powered by their love for their work. These are people who gave themselves permission to pursue their dreams, an act of both self-love and passion for what they determined to be their purpose. Their tireless efforts fostered great wealth and the ability to give back to their communities.
So, the answer is a resounding, yes! Money can be the root of all GOOD when it intersects with love and purpose.
Can Black Women Navigate the Intersection of Love, Money, and Purpose?
As Black women, we are familiar with intersections. Yes, we are Black, but we are also women. We are American but we are also part of the African Diaspora. At the intersection of our sense of love for ourselves and others, our feelings about money, and our ability to pursue our purpose through work, we can step into the lives we desire most.
For most of us, we need help to examine this intersection and get the encouragement, motivation, and guidance we need to identify our talents and desires. Schedule a Discovery Call to find out what programs and resources are available to you through my company. While I focus on women who identify as Black in my group programs, I work with a diverse audience in my private coaching and corporate programs. I focus on Black women in my group programs because we have a unique place in society and need a safe space for our healing and personal growth that is free from the potential for micro- and macroaggressions.
Make this Black History Month and Valentine’s Day unique by gaining a better understanding of how you are impacted by love in all its forms, your “money story,” and the way they intersect with your pursuit of passion and purpose in your work. Uncover anything that is holding you back, and take that new awareness to better serve your community and the world. You will never regret the time you invest in your personal and professional growth.