by LV Burns of www.natural-ness.com
I have had far too many friends, family members and acquaintances tell me that they wouldn’t look as good as me if their hair was natural. I never take that as a compliment. In fact, when I hear someone say this, it actually bothers me because it’s just negative thinking in disguise. How can someone not look good with their “natural” God given hair? As African American women, our features are made for kinky curly hair. Why hide the beautiful high cheek bones, large gorgeous foreheads and beautiful full eyes with straight hair? Our hair was made to crown our features, not drown them out.
This statement is cousin to, “my hair is not good enough to go natural.” Hello! There is no such thing as “good enough” hair. Once again, your hair is a gift. It does not matter what type of hair you are born with, it is a gift to be cherished. Now I know that hate for African American hair has been ingrained in us generation after generation, but I think that it’s time to start erasing these negative thoughts. Why not start today?
If you are considering going natural, but are still harboring negative thoughts that are keeping you from moving forward, or if you are already natural and thinking of relaxing because of these negative thoughts, I have a challenge for you. There is a technique used in cognitive therapy that can be very effective in eliminating negative thoughts. Take a rubber band and place it on your wrist. Every time a negative thought about your hair (or any other part of you) comes to mind, or you find yourself saying something negative, pull the rubber band and let it snap your wrist. You don’t have to do it very hard, just a little snap is enough. When you snap the rubber band, you are conditioning your mind to say “negative thoughts hurt”. Negative thoughts do hurt…they hurt your self-esteem, relationships and everything else in your life. They make you feel less than, undeserving of and not as good as. Once your mind starts understanding this, you’ll find that negativity about your natural hair and yourself in general will occur far less frequently. Give it a try and let me know if it works for you!
How do you plan to overcome?
great article. today was a bad hair day. i have chin lengthen hair…and it is not long enough for a ponytail and am tired of twist outs and wng! i was feeling frustrated with this hair of mine. i am going to be more aware of my negative thoughts.
I love my natural hair but I do have my off days.
I'm going to try the rubberband method for some of my other negative thoughts. Great idea!
Well I think at times alot of the negative thoughts can be damaging to our self-esteem. Sometimes though we want to have another persons hair, but often times that is not always the better of the two. I often think if only my hair was a tad bit of a looser curl, and then I wouldn't have to put extra products into my hair to get it to act out right. Then when I think my hair looks shitty or so so, low and behold I will get a compliment on that day. But I like hearing that my hair looks good, and I want a person to be honest with me and not sugar coat it.
My mom will say oh I like it or not like it and I'm like have you taken a look at your hair lately. Thats the pot calling the kettle black or however the phrase goes. Oh my goodness I saw today while out at lunch 2 of the cutest natural little black babies, both were girls. The baby mother of the 9 month oh I had body envy, lol.. she doesn't look like she was ever preggos, and had to be a size 2 at that and tall 5.10. But just be happy that we have hair that can do so many styles that alot of other races would kill to be able to do, and take it with a grain of salt. Don't worry about the negative ideas, because more positive will come your way.
Thank you. I enjoyed the article.
I'm not dealing with any negative thoughts about my hair now. However, when my hair was at the “in between stage”, I was struggling. My hair wasn't short enough to have the cute TWA style, but not long enough to do anything with, i.e. twists, coils, etc. Something was off. I now realize the problem was a bad original BC by a barber who gave me a Beetle Bailey buzz cut. Wish I'd read this article then. LOL
Now that I've learned to work with my hair and not against it the negative thoughts are few and far between. I think it's fair to say that I've grown accustomed to my face…with natural hair. This is my same face, but I had to get used to seeing myself with curly hair. I'm comfortable now and happy, but it didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken a full year to reach that point.
I like my natural hair when it works, but there are still many days when it drives me crazy. I hope that as more women adopt this style the look will become more common and styling techniques and products will continue to evolve. We've come a long way from the Jheri Curl.
But I don't believe in pep talks that aren't backed up by anything. Talk is cheap. One is better off trying to find a better conditioner than chiding oneself for having negative thoughts about something that we've been basically programmed since birth to regard negatively.
I wear my hair naturally and I certainly encourage other women to try it, but it's not that easy.
First, we live in a culture in which straight hair is considered the apex of beauty. There can be professional, social and romantic ramifications.
Second, some people don't have great hair — haven't you met any white people with lousy hair? The "natural" argument is usually a weak one.
Finally, I take a very dim view of CBT. It works on small issues for people with small minds who aren't very thoughtful. You can't snap your wrist all day long.
Funny thing is, I think some people (obviously not all) actually DO look better with straight hair. I'm one of them. Something about the sheen & the darkness of it really compliments my face.
That being said, I love my ringlets far too much to straighten them! I'm trying to grow a huge fierce mane of 'em now!
I have been struggling with wearing my hair natural…it has been 2 years since my last relaxer. I had armpit length hair and I always wore it out in a roller set or a soft wave (I love soft retro styles). I finally felt confident about something and by going natural, I was forced to search for another source of confidence. I love the texture of my natural hair, but I hate my hair off of my face and I don't think it is long enough to wear it out yet. I only regreat my decision because my natural hair has taken away confidence I struggled to find in the first place. While I don't intend to ever relax again, I will be flat ironing my hair until I can figure it out…
Thank you for posting this, I was going to e-mail my CN big sis because I wondered if it was normal or if anyone else has experienced negative thoughts towards their budding natural curls…
I'm 7 month going into my 8 month of transitioning and what I'm struggling with is the thought of "fake curls". Lately I've been feeling that styling my curls with flexis or braiding it etc, is not real curls. I don't know where these thoughts are coming from, I guess lately I've been thinking that real curlies are the ones that just wash n go…
It's funny really because for the last 10 yrs or so I've been in a constant state of transitioning (unknowingly) – for the last 10yrs I've been relaxing my hair only twice a year and I've also been styling my hair wavy or as curly as I could get my "straight" hair to be. I'd go to the salon, get a roller set, then followed by a blow-out to then go home and pin my hair for a wavy-curly look. Unconscioulsy I've been trying to get back my natural wavy tresses which makes the idea that my beutiful natural coils are not- well- natural, even more perplexing. I've already spoken to my friend (who is also transitioning) and she laughed and thought I was being silly. I know that I am but I'm not sure how to shake this negative thought from my head…
I'd welcome your thoughts, ladies and thank you! 🙂
Great Article! You always know what to say and when to say it everytime I pay a visit to your page. I'be been battling these thoughts for a year. Still getting my hair pressed even though I was natural because I wouldn't "fit it". But now Im trying to embrace it, and this article hit the spot!. Thanks Nikki!
"Why hide the beautiful high cheek bones, large gorgeous foreheads and beautiful full eyes with straight hair?"
LOL, I've never heard someone describe my large forehead as gorgeous but thanks! I do feel that big natural hair enhances my features and draws attentions to my eyes. I feel really plain now when my hair points down.
This is a great article! Here and there I have subconscious thoughts when I see other people's hair, like oh she has nice hair, or good hair. I always forget how ingrained it is in my brain. However I never have outright negative thoughts about my own hair. But sometimes subconscious thoughts are worse. I will definitely be trying this. Thanks again!
Great article, I so needed to see this today. Though I'm not having an issue with my hair, this is relevant in other areas of my life right now. I will be performing rubber band therapy on myself, lol.
Forgot to add, great article LV! It's a wonderful message for transitioners and the well versed naturals alike.
Anonymous747, I disagree. I'm a psychology student and the rubber band snap is just as plausible a theory at eliminating negative thoughts as cognitive restructuring and thought stopping techniques. What works for one individual may not work the next. Thought stopping and replacing netgative thoughts have been discussed on this site many times. I stopped biting my nails using the rubber band trick. I love the Feeling Good Handbook and recommend it to everyone I know!
I definitely agree with this one, and I'm actually reading David Burns book called 'Feeling Good' which deals with cognitive therapy and how to use it to change negative thoughts as well as treating depression. It can be very frustrating to change a thought that has been drilled into us since childhood but we have to work on changing our way of thinking about our hair so that we can handle the negative comments and reactions and realize that the only opinion that matters is our own. WE have the power to embrace our individuality without the consent of others! 🙂
i needed this one. ive been really battling negative thoughts about my hair lately. Like i jsut can't stand it. im in that weird place (for me atleast) where my hair isnt quite long enough to fit into a ponytail (or bubble as i used to say back in BK) and its just weird to me. Taking care of it just takes so much work, and i havent found a way to keep it looking decent for more than 1-2 days without having to completely do it all over. As a mom of three little ones and a housewife/homemaker..i just dont have that kind of time. Plus, i never was one to take very good care of my hair, but it just always grew and i took that for granted. I did a BC (for atleast the 5th time) last year, and for some reason my hair just isnt growing back the way it used to. ive been thru some emotional ups n downs that im sure affected my hair (pregnant, miscarriage, and pregnant again…and now moved to the middle east where the water is desalinated which i hear is bad for ur hair, plus some of these women seem to have negative thoughts about their skin color n hair that it seems they take for granted as truth) so im sure that has something to do with this kinda awkward thing going on with my hair. To tell u the truth, the thing that keeps me from relaxing it is my daighter. She's mixed and i feel its important for her to love her curly hair. what would she think if i straightened min..shes only 5 by the way. but really, what would i b teaching her. i need to love my hair, and take care of it as an example to her, and also for myself. i dont know why these negative thoughts keep creeping up…but they do. i just resolve myself to get over it. to remember, like ive always believed, that each persons natural beauty is beautiful, and that what makes the difference is how u care for ur hair, not what texture it is. but like i said, be it hormones right now or what…these negative thoughts have really been plaguing me. thnx for this…