Healing is a Social Justice Issue

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Within a society that is anti-wellness and anti-healing, it’s not enough to avoid talking about social justice issues. Healing is more than just self-love quotes and breathing exercises. It’s a deep introspective look into the social ills that are the causes of people’s pain and distress.

“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society” – Angela Davis

How does one become their ‘best version’ when they are faced with physical state violence that threatens their right to self-determination? How do you tell someone who lives with the threat of being stopped and searched or even killed by the police based on the colour of their skin that they are ‘in control of their reality’? If healing is about overcoming something that has had an impact on your mental well-being, then we must talk about the root causes. When we talk about healing, it’s not enough to speak only on codependency, boundaries, manifestation, confidence and so forth. We have to consider how economic inequality, racism, imperialism, and patriarchy impacts people’s emotional, mental and physical well-being.

Examples of Societal issues impacting one’s Mental Health:

Institutional Racism 

A black person constantly being stopped by the police and experiencing unfair treatment within the judicial system based on the colour of their skin. Being accused of things you did not do and being labelled a criminal or perpetrator when they are not the perpetrators of violence. This is institutional racism.

Capitalism.

Growing up poor and not being able to afford necessities. A poor child in school can’t afford to go on school trips, gets picked on because they don’t have the latest clothes. Parents have to be at work all the time to keep a roof over their head which results in the child being neglected physically and emotionally. The child grows up with self-esteem issues because of their circumstances. This is capitalism.

Patriarchy 

Having to watch what you wear in public in case you give men the perception that you want their attention. Being questioned whether you’re competent enough to be in a management position because you’re a woman. This is patriarchy.

A young boy being told that crying is a sign of weakness so decides to hide his feelings and suffer in private. Growing up angry and not knowing why. Internalising his feelings of self-hate and anger towards the world. This patriarchy.

Imperialism 

A person suffers from PTSD because of drone strikes. They experience disturbed sleep and flashbacks of relatives dying. Others in their situation have become refugees and experience xenophobia in the new countries where they reside. They battle with their mental health problems on top of being ostracised by society. This is imperialism.

 

Why it’s important to talk about social justice issues?

All of these issues restrict people’s right to self-determination and actualisation. They break a person’s spirit and bring a sense of hopelessness. Healing is something that all humans should do and it’s not limited to people who are interested in personal development. To move individuals towards self-empowerment and healing, we need to acknowledge and validate other people’s struggles. We need to hold institutions accountable for their role in producing an unwell society.

We are all citizens of the world and I believe it is our responsibility to speak out against injustice and do our part in creating a better world. You don’t need to protest to make a difference. You can use your platform, you can educate people around you, you can do community work that helps uplift and elevate others.

 

Journal Prompts:

1. Are you avoiding talking about social justice issues?

2. What ways can you educate yourself on the struggles of black and brown people?

3. How are you contributing to uplifting and empowering your community?

 

Question to you:

What are your thoughts?

I’d love to know what you think!

 

Love Ash, xx

How to Overcome Feeling Envious at someone else’s Success

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Does other people’s success trigger feelings of inadequacy? You may find that you are genuinely happy for them but can’t seem to stop thinking about what’s going wrong in your life.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all gone through a period where we’ve been unhappy or unsatisfied with how things are going in our lives. Confronting our insecurities can be difficult especially when we live in an age of highlight reels. As much as you may try to focus on your journey, it’s easy to get caught up in what other people are doing especially in the age of the internet.

Let’s be real, it can get frustrating when you see other people achieving successful milestones that you want to achieve, especially when you feel like you work hard. I’ll give you an example; you might be applying for countless jobs only to be met by rejection after rejection then suddenly you find out that your friend landed a massive offer in a company you wanted to work for. This can crop up feelings of comparison, inadequacy, and jealously.

It doesn’t make you a bad person if you are battling with negative feelings towards your friend. This indicates that you have personal insecurities that you need to address. You can change how you feel but you have to first become aware of your feelings so that you don’t project your insecurities onto others.

It’s easy to demonise people who find themselves envious at others. I believe that we need to remove those stigmas so we can have more honest and open conversations. The more authentic we are, the better chance we have of healing and creating healthier relationships. Some people genuinely want to celebrate other people’s successes but they find themselves battling with their insecurities.

If you are feeling envious, it’s not okay to:

  • Undermine someone else’s success to make yourself feel better
  • To undercut their success by copying them
  • To throw shade

Equally, it’s okay to:

  • Not feel super ecstatic about their achievements

How to cope when your friend’s success triggers you:

1. Journal- Write down your thoughts and ask yourself the following: How do I feel? What is this situation cropping up for me? What accomplishments have I made? What action steps can I achieve my goals? Or do I need to be more patient and trusting? Get to the route cause of the issue and find a solution to your problem.

2. Celebrate it- If you see that someone’s doing something you love, celebrate it. Tell them how happy you are for them and how much of a major accomplishment it is. Don’t keep quiet- that’s negative and bad energy. Even if your feelings don’t match your words, you are putting out the intention that you want to feel more of those positive feelings towards them. Additionally, making someone else feel good about their accomplishments might even make you feel better.

3. Weekly reminders- Go over your long term goals every week. This is a great reminder of where you are heading and why. When you are clear about the direction that your life is going, it becomes less important about the speed.

Reminders when feelings envious at other people’s success:

Your time will come- Just because it hasn’t happened for you yet doesn’t mean it won’t. If you keep working hard & smart, it’s almost inevitable that you will reap the benefits. Keep focusing on your vision & express gratitude for where you are now.

Gain peace with the present- You are where you been to be right now. There are still lessons that need to be learned, what that has to be done to get to where you want to be. There are still so many things you can be grateful for in your life. Don’t get caught up in another person’s journey that you can’t see the blessings in yours.

Managing expectations- Maybe your expectations for yourself are too harsh. Give yourself time to accomplish your goals and take into consideration other obstacles that may get in the way.

See the lessons- There’s always a lesson that can be learned. How can you learn from what they did? Where they in contact with certain people? Do you need to make those connections? Look at the action steps behind their success. Their success may have been a result of their hard work. What can you adopt (of course in YOUR way)?

A question to you:

What advice would you give someone who’s struggling with this?

I’d love to hear from you!

Love, Ash x 

Side Effects of Avoiding Negative Emotions

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Do you typically avoid negative emotions or embrace them? Embracing the complexities of the human emotional experience is a good thing. It helps you to build a healthy relationship with yourself by validating and allowing yourself to feel. Of course, not every feeling needs to be acted upon especially if you find yourself repeating unhealthy behaviours. However, avoiding any negative emotions is an act of violence against your well-being.

I often see that people conflating emotions outside of joy as being a bad thing. In my opinion, I believe that this is undermining and dismissive. It also shames people for feeling genuine emotions over real-life situations. As much as you may do your absolute best to feel great all the time, you are going to have crappy days. That doesn’t make you a negative person. Embracing your feelings and accepting them is a sign of emotional maturity. It demonstrates that you are validating your emotional experience.

Problem with emotional avoidance:

  • The feelings you suppress come out later in life as unaddressed pain
  • You may find yourself experiencing random outburst of sadness
  • You may subconsciously project your negative feelings onto others
  • You may be avoiding finding solutions to your problems

When you approach negative feelings with ‘stay positive’ rhetoric, you end up preventing yourself from feeling your feelings. Behind your emotions may be unaddressed pain that manifests emotions like sadness, anger, etc. When you don’t allow yourself to uncover the truth behind your feelings, thoughts, and actions, you distract yourself from doing necessary healing work.

Additionally, I am a firm believer that you can’t fool the universe. What you avoid will always find a way to confront you eventually. Your negative feelings can manifest in the people you attract, the situations you find yourself in and so forth. Wouldn’t you rather deal with the temporary discomfort of your feelings instead of taking months/ years to clean up the damage caused by suppressing your feelings? I would choose the first option!

Here are some tips on how to deal with your emotions:

  • Learn to hold yourself when feeling low- What would you say to a child who’s feeling low? You wouldn’t shut them down by saying ‘stay positive’ (well I hope not). You would try to affirm them maybe by saying that ‘it’s okay to be sad, but things will be okay’. Learn to comfort yourself just like you would to a child and assure yourself that things are going to be okay.
  • Breathe- Do some breathing techniques to calm yourself down. You could try the 4-7-8 breathing rule or any other ones that you may find useful.
  • Journal- Write about how you are feeling. Focus on writing down the situation and emotions that cropped up for you. Then write down what methods you can try to make yourself feel better.
  • Remind yourself of your values- If you haven’t already, write down your values. Are your actions/emotions currently in alignment with the type of person you want to be? This helps you to put things into perspective and reminds you that in the longer-term certain emotions shall pass.

Life comes in cycles. We must become comfortable in seeing our life that way. Some days are harder than others but that’s life. We truly need to have moments of sadness so we can understand and appreciate life and its joys. Acceptance is where you become emotionally healthy and therefore practice self-validation.

A question to you:

Do you avoid negative emotions or embrace them?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Much Love, Ash xx

Accountability.

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It’s so much easier to identify the unhealthy behaviour in others than within ourselves. Be brave enough to look within yourself, acknowledge what’s there and begin to address it. Be compassionate with yourself in the process. Taking accountability for your actions, behaviours and situation is the first step to becoming the victor of your own story.

I believe that it’s important to take an inventory of your life from time to time. These are some questions that you can ask yourself:

Is your criticism or judgement of others, a reflection of your own insecurities?

What unhealthy behaviour traits do you want to let go of?

What is my current situation teaching me?

What lessons do I need to revisit?

What does taking accountability in my life look like to me?

Question to you:

Do you take accountability for your actions?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Love Ash, xx