A series of questions to ask yourself before engaging in respectability politics targeting Black women

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A fiery debate about whether or not Black women should wear hair bonnets outside of the house made its rounds on social media after comedian Mo’Nique posted an Instagram video about seeing the hair accessory and other casual wear on some young Black women at the airport. In the video, Mo’Nique associates these occurrences with a lack of pride and respect and encouraged the “wiser sisters” to “tap” women who “look like they don’t care” to “show them what [they’re] worth.”

Almost immediately, the internet was ablaze with commentary centering the always timely conversation of respectability politics or the belief…

How a simple technique can help you approach your fears with curiosity

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Like most of the country, I’m tuned in every week to NBC’s This Is Us to see what’s new with the Pearson family and to, undoubtedly, cry crocodile tears over a heartwarming moment. While I enjoy most every character on the program, I particularly love Beth and Randall’s relationship dynamic and their authentic and (often delightfully corny) banter.

One of my favorite running themes in the show is the married couple’s Worst Case Scenario game, which involves Beth and Randall each laying out their worst fears about how a given issue could go horribly wrong. Their fears typically center on…

The refreshing and uncomfortable experience of positive anticipation in the middle of a pandemic

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Attempts to increase vaccine accessibility accompanied with the CDC’s (controversial and confusing) updates about recommendations for vaccinated individuals have led many in the US to prep for re-entry into society. Social calendars are beginning to fill up prompting the vaccinated population to reflect on how they want to spend their time with, if the CDC and leading public health experts are correct, fewer safety concerns and limitations. Despite the many challenges to venturing outside — psychological and otherwise, many of us are experiencing the refreshing and slightly uncomfortable experience of finally having something to look forward to.

Optimism can be…

According to relational-cultural theory, boundaries don’t have to be a rigid line of separateness — they can be a tool of connection and mutuality

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Everywhere you look online it seems that people are talking about boundaries. A quick search through the 1 million Instagram posts tagged with the term highlights an assortment of content with the words no, stop, and enforce somewhere in the image or the caption. From my non-scientific research aka three minutes of scrolling through the most recent images and captions, I gather that the majority of these posts typically translate into some variation of “how to say no and mean it” or “how to learn how to prioritize yourself and your needs.”

If boundaries are supposed to make our lives…

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 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/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. …

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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