Personal Liberation, Freedom, Self-Care (and Internalizations That Hold Us Back) - Humantold

Personal Liberation, Freedom, Self-Care (and Internalizations That Hold Us Back) 

Tori Williams, LMHC July 8, 2023

What’s holding you back?

When individuals are targeted, discriminated against, or oppressed, they often internalize the myths and misinformation society feeds them about their respective groups. This internalization can make them unconsciously believe that they are inherently less worthy, capable, intelligent, beautiful, or good than those outside their group.

As you can imagine, over time, this has profoundly detrimental effects on our mental and physical well-being. It can manifest as diminished motivation and mood, social withdrawal, lowered self-esteem, struggles with substance abuse, eating disorders, and chronic pain. When discussing racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and heterosexism, it is crucial to recognize their impact on both individuals and communities, affecting everyday interactions.

It is truly crucial to grasp how oppression, systemic issues, and various "isms" impact our mental health, overall well-being, and sense of self. Developing this awareness enables us to distinguish between external influences (such as others' thoughts, feelings, and opinions) and our own identity. When we feel distressed by these thoughts, incorporating affirmations into our lives can be immensely helpful. They serve as a guiding light, allowing us to navigate overwhelming feelings and alleviate any guilt associated with prioritizing self-care. 

Affirmations to overcome oppression and embrace self-liberation

Here are some affirmations that can keep you on track:

  • “I don’t chase, I attract. What belongs to me will simply find me.”
  • “Things always work out for me.”
  • “I speak my dreams into existence. God and the universe work for me and with me.”

For so many of us, the idea of freedom sometimes feels like just that…an idea. We find ourselves grappling with idealized versions of who we should be and unrealistic societal standards imposed upon us by others. These expectations can be far from liberating, hindering the true sense of freedom and liberation we desperately seek.

Perhaps the issue lies in our tendency to seek external factors or individuals to bring us that sense of liberation. Yet, who knows our needs better than ourselves? It is crucial to recognize that true liberation starts from within. It's not about monumental shifts but rather the small, everyday actions. By prioritizing ourselves, practicing self-care and self-love in our unique ways, we can ignite the process of liberation.

Come back to yourself 

Yes, living a fun and intentional life can be liberating. But it’s important to remember that self-care and self-love don’t always need to be luxurious. They can be found in the simple yet profound moments that allow us to reset, reframe, regulate, reconnect, and recharge. These moments may take various forms, such as:

  • Asking yourself “What do I need right now?”
  • Offering yourself grace instead of over-identifying with your mistakes 
  • Being in a calm, soothing environment  
  • Prioritizing pleasure and play over work and productivity
  • Rest

Being intentional about self-liberation

Self-liberation also involves making the conscious decision to no longer let your fears and doubts dictate your life. It's about developing the habit of listening to yourself and showing up for yourself in a purposeful manner. To cultivate this habit and foster a deeper connection with yourself, consider keeping these three questions in mind at the start of each week:

  1. How will I show up authentically this week? 
  2. What is one thing I can do for play and pleasure today? 
  3. How will I connect with my body, others, and nature this week?

There is something incredibly radical about doing what’s best for you. In the words of Audre Lorde, “Caring for yourself isn’t self-indulgence – it’s self-preservation.” Honoring your softness and gentleness is your inherent right. Find what is meaningful for you, nourish it, and live without regrets.

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