Glenn Bigonet, M.A.
Social Activist for Racial Equity
Facilitating Discussions about Racism
Self Care While Confronting Racism
"Self-care is the constant practice of not letting more pain accumulate. It is about continually
remembering that our lives are of value. It is the active process of settling
our nervous systems so that we have more access to the present moment."
Confronting racism, acknowledging the racial harm that has happened and is still happening today, and reflecting on and addressing the ways we have been socialized into supporting racism is intense and hard work. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the intensity of emotions that arise through this work. I know because I've been sitting with them for a while now and I have on numerous occassions felt totally overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
It's important to acknowledge that racism has been a major part of white culture for over 400 years. There is no way any of us are going to end racism in our lifetimes. It's okay to take it slow and as Robin DiAngelo says build up our racial stamina. The most important thing is that we keep addressing it and moving forward with as many anti-racist actions as we can.
It's important to pace yourself while you continue to push yourself toward facing the discomfort of all of this. Treat this work as a marathon not a sprint. If you feel like you're getting overwhelmed it's okay to step back a take a break to recover. In fact, it's necessary if you're going to have any hope of staying with this work for the long haul.
It's also important to talk to someone about the parts that are painful, shameful, infuriating for you. We all experience painful things in our lives, it's when we have the sense of going through that pain alone in some way that it becomes traumatic. Please don't let yourself get traumatized as you do this work. Reach out to friends, family, others doing this work who can listen to your experience with empathy, caring and compassion. It's also appropriate to reach out to a therapist if you're really having trouble handling the emotions of it all. Feel free to reach out to me for support as well if that feels comfortable for you.
In short, please do whatever you need to not hurt yourself emotionally while you do this work. That doesn't mean don't allow yourself to feel the pain of it all because that is essential but you don't have to let yourself feel so much pain at once that you are causing emotional harm to yourself. This tolerance of pain is different for everyone. Please honor the pace that feels right for you and stay dedicated to moving forward at that pace. As long as you move forward you will make progress in understanding and changing systemic racism.
|Copyright © 2020 Glenn Bigonet, M.A.|