Within a society that is anti-wellness, 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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