Three key steps to turning compassion inward

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As the great Tina Turner once famously said, “We never ever do nothing nice and easy.” These days so much of the collective focus is on hustling and grinding — attempts at trying to do and be more; however nebulous or out of reach this might seem on any given day. With so many distractions outside of ourselves and external pressures, there are ample opportunities to miss the mark and not live up to our predetermined expectations. Missed your sales quota? Self-blame. Mind went blank during your exam? Self-attack.

In these moments, shame and disappointment can feel like daunting challenges…

Try listening with a present mind and open heart

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This past year has been brutal. The pandemic has left few unscathed with some people mourning intangible losses such as shifts in routines and sense of freedom, while others are grieving more tangible losses of loved ones, homes, and all sense of what they once knew. When being tasked as witnesses to so much suffering, how do we make space for the unpleasantries? How do we practice being with others in their feelings rather than attempting to fix them?

Consider this scenario. Imagine you’re spending time with someone you care about deeply and amidst catching each other up on various…

Revisiting Prince’s legacy five years after his death

With so much palatable Black pain and suffering, I thought, on the anniversary of his passing, that I’d share some musings on someone who provided me with so much Black joy. I wrote this the day Prince died.

Yves Lorson from Kapellen, Belgium, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

While some Black families consider themselves Jackson homes or Marvin Gaye residences, mine was unequivocally a Prince household. In my house, we talked about Prince as if he were classic mythology.

“Did you know he was an amazing basketball star?”

“You know it took him a while to form a band who could play his music as good as he could. …

When you acknowledge the weight you’re carrying, every step feels important

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In the past year, many of us have had to alter, expand, or completely re-conceptualize the definition of progress to make room for the daily tasks that, one or two years ago, wouldn’t have appeared remotely noteworthy. You watered all of your plants? Congratulations. You finished reading that book you bought in 2016? Huge.

Planning to run a marathon or even organizing a jam-packed social weekend might have once seemed easily in your grasp, but changing realities require adjustments to our capacities. …

Curiosity can help you bridge the gap between intellectual understanding and emotional reality

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I know better than this. Why am I still so stuck in my feelings? We’ve all been there — in that uncomfortable space between knowing something to be true, but the intellectual knowledge not being enough to fix or change the emotional experience.

Maybe you last encountered this discrepancy after angrily critiquing your body for its pandemic changes even after your deep dive into the history of fatphobia.

Or you noticed it creep up after weeks of crying over a layoff despite knowing that your workplace severely mistreated and undervalued you. Regardless, you’ve likely judged yourself and your feelings due…

If we want to combat imposter syndrome, we have to stop thinking about it as an individual problem

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“Facilitating adaptation to unhealthy systems does not lead to healthy development or fully lived lives.” — Arthur M. Horne

I first learned about the imposter syndrome as a first-year counseling psychology PhD student researching articles for a class assignment. What I had always referred to as “self-doubt that doesn’t fully make sense because of my history of objective achievement” actually had a (much shorter) name, description, and a plethora of associated research to back it up. …

Oprah’s Meghan and Harry interview shows how humility isn’t a virtue, it’s a sentence when weaponized against Black women

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It’s a bind most Black women know too well. It usually presents itself when a Black woman chooses to relinquish herself from societal expectations, pivoting from self-preserving humility to open self-assurance. Somewhere between this shift, she inevitably trips a wire sounding an alarm with a message clear as day: humble yourself or be humbled.

Women are generally chastised for taking up too much space, but Black women pay a heftier social fine for not shrinking themselves. Misogynoir, a term created by Moya Bailey, speaks to this unique brand of racist and sexist discrimination that results in “the specific hatred, dislike…

How Black women can stop coping and start healing

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another” — Toni Morrison, Beloved

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Existing at the intersection of gender and racial oppression, and the onslaught of misogynoir these two systems produce, creates an environment where Black women are simultaneously garnered hyper-visible and invisible. We are expected to know better, while at the same time having our expertise consistently questioned. We are expected to save democracy while concurrently being disenfranchised. We are chastised for being “too much,” while, in the same breath, asked to take up more space. When swimming in a pool of toxicity and dehumanization…

In the fight for social justice, how you read is more important than what you read

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If the New York Times bestsellers nonfiction list is any indication, White people are in speed-reading mode, trying to make up for 400 years of systemic oppression as quickly as possible. It’s the Great White Study-Up of 2020.

As a Black woman who studies counseling psychology, I appreciate that people are self-educating on topics of race and oppression, rather than relying on Black friends, family members, neighbors, and even strangers to engage in the emotional labor of explaining these subjects. But what people reading those books need to understand is that being anti-racist isn’t about checking off boxes.

Becoming more…

For Black people, interrupting the endless cycle of productivity is more important than ever

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Over the past few months, the pandemic has caused millions of people to rethink their relationship to work and striving — and to realize, finally, that the relentless obsession with productivity is universally harmful.

For Black people, this reckoning is particularly acute. With an ongoing global health pandemic disproportionately killing us, social distancing orders, an economic downturn mirroring the Great Depression, police still murdering Black people with little consequence, and a resulting national revolt, the world as we’ve known it is being cracked open and our society’s failings are on display.

In the midst of such despair and turmoil, it…

Lincoln Hill, PhD

Black woman, mental health counselor, researcher, wellness consultant, PhD in counseling psychology, and Beyoncé stan. IG: black_and_woman_IG

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