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Transparent Black Girl (TBG) founder Yasmine Jameelah has "leaned into softness" as she says. If you're not sure what that means, Jameelah is referring to the trending self-care aesthetic that's blowing up on apps like TikTok and Instagram.
There are over 240 million TikTok views from the #softlife and #softera hashtags combined. And Black creators and influencers in particular are at the top of the search page, having taken to social media to share their soft life journeys.
For some people, a soft life means cultivating a life of luxury. One TikTok creator put it into perspective writing, "POV: you made it to your soft life era. You do what you like when you like." She then goes on to list a series of rather pricey soft life activities, including Pilates classes, luxury travel, fine dining, shopping, and organic groceries. "Your day of rushing to your job are over. Your only concern is schedule your nail, facial appointment and looking your best everyday," she goes on to say.
But soft living is about more than just luxury vibes (although, if that's what makes you feel prioritized in your life, more power to you). Soft living is about allowing ease into your life. It's about creating a life of emotional attunement and self-intentionality around the ways time is occupied — it's balance, gentleness, and awareness of where individuals are mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, according to Camille Lester, MHC, NCC, a psychotherapist based in New York City.
"I think that our proclamation for soft living has shaken up the internet, because the world has seen Black women as those who always have to serve others and Black women are not going for that anymore and I am here for it."
The soft life era for us "is an act of radical wellness," as TBG puts it.
"A soft life for me has reminded me that I deserve good things all the time," Jameelah says. It affords Black women the lives that too often have been taken away from them by the inequities of society (racial, socioeconomic, political, etc.).
"I think that our proclamation for soft living has shaken up the internet, because the world has seen Black women as those who always have to serve others and Black women are not going for that anymore and I am here for it," Jameelah says. This is where Black women are just saying no in a "very beautiful, elegant, and over the top — at times — way."
Embracing softness is about taking delight in what brings you joy in your individual life and Jameelah believes that Black women's soft lives aren't one size fits all, and that you can curate a soft life as you see fit.
"A soft life could be you on a yacht in the middle of Italy, or it could be you sitting in the grass letting yourself be still and meditating," Jameelah says.
Another TikTok creator defined soft life markers as buying yourself the flowers you deserve, giving yourself permission to take naps as needed, and delegating tasks to others because you refuse to burn up your own energy.
Welcome to your Soft Life Era!🤍 Want to be a part of a wellness community for women of color, focused on self care, self love and soft living? Join me in “THE ZEN CROWD.” https://the-zen-crowd.mn.co/ #fyp #softlife #blackgirlluxury #softlifetiktok♬ ByCandiceDenise Soft Life Era - Candice Denise
Recently Jameelah planned a trip to Las Vegas, ordered her groceries to be delivered to free up time for relaxation, and started speaking to herself with more kindness all in the name of soft living. The lifestyle encompasses gestures both big and small — as long as they serve you and your happiness.
Lester also emphasizes that the soft lifestyle is for all Black individuals, regardless of gender, and that choosing a soft life can be beneficial to your mental health. "There's so much energetic reparations within taking time to be still, taking time to ask yourself what you need, taking time to be attentive to your body and the spaces that it's in," Lester says.
While social media has made soft living more accessible, Lester believes that it isn't just a trend and that it will extend past the hashtags.
"It's something that has been around for a long time and we're now finding language to put to it," Lester says. "It's not just a trend. It is essential to the fabric of balance and wellness."
And it's a principle that Jameelah says she hopes will live on. "I hope that we continue to be soft. I hope that we continue to thrive, and that we continue to remember that we all deserve beautiful lives."