As a Black man, especially in the midst of national tragedies involving the recent and ongoing shooting deaths of Black men, the feelings of worthiness is further dissipated for one’s own sanity and therefore one’s own overall healing. The unchecked, ongoing, unsupported mental and emotional health of Black men continues to cause overall challenges within Black families and Black communities. Many Black men, myself included, have and continue to experience not only our everyday life challenges as being Black but the national challenges of being Black while driving, reading, sitting in a car, reaching in a glovebox, playing in a park, walking home from a convenient store, selling small items on the street, riding the subway and many more basic human, survival and daily activities. The deep-seated internal fear that the continuous showings of Black men being killed from the media and perpetuated on social media causes some Black men to feel that healing isn’t even possible. Many Black men feel a deep sense of ostracism even among their peers because although most Black men have experienced some form of racism and/or discriminatory practice directly, many of those brothers ultimately feel that healing just isn’t even on-the-table, a thing or even necessary. Many of these brothers feel that there’s not much that will ever change so they must go along to get along. Many brothers choose to use avoidance behavior in mind and body numbing activities just to continue to lessen the feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness being perpetuated by mainstream media, jobs and the country at large. Many Black men simply feel that healing isn’t possible and if it is, they have no time to stop and deal with their mental, spiritual and emotional health, until…
Until something drastic happens directly to them or someone close to them. In my opinion, as a Black man and as a professional who continues to deal, help, support and educate Black men about ways to overcome feelings of unworthiness thereby realizing that healing is not only possible but mandatory for the sake of one’s overall human existence. Life happens!
Black men must come together as united groups for the sole and Soul purpose of mental, spiritual and emotional health support, guidance, love and acceptance. In my book, I AM The SOULution- 8 Transformational Approaches to Turning Obstacles into Opportunities, I describe examples of this and how I was able to transcend a life from total defeat and depression to a lifestyle of wellness that I now love and honor. http://bit.ly/IAMTheSOULutionBook
As Black men we must develop specific support groups to aid in the effective teaching of one another how to design and implement Curriculums for Living in order to survive. Black men must create sustaining, health and wellness practices which will continuously support not only themselves but their families, both immediate and extended as well as their respective communities. Black men must get to a place of distinguishing our short and long-term goals as subsets of our overall purposes. Health and wellness must become the priority if we, as Black men, will overcome some of the harsh realities of living in this country while being Black. Black men must create specific support groups which will first and foremost counter the stigma of mental health challenges whereas we, as Black men, get to know that healing is not only necessary but possible.
Black men have historically and continue to learn and get support within small groups of other Black men whether it’s in the context of chats at the barbershop, happy hour, cigar shops, sporting events and other traditional male (and female friendly) gathering spots. The necessity of providing one another mental, emotional and spiritual support has been disguised in the form of “shop talk” and “chopping it up” in the settings aforementioned. I personally feel that these events are helpful, however, I would also pledge and challenge Black men to specifically set up small group, round-table, ongoing discussions and remedies of how to restore the feelings of adequacy and worthiness among Black men whereas we are not only addressing our specific mental, emotional and spiritual challenges within our plights of living in this world while Being Black (men) but that healing emotionally, mentally and spiritually is the key to our ultimate survival. For many Black men our therapy and counseling takes place in small group settings among commonalities.
Here are 5 things I think, as Black men, we must include in our support groups:
1. Let go of personal history, particularly the painful, shameful parts and enjoy the present. - I’m not necessarily asking any brother to forget but I am suggesting that as Black men we utilize our mental and emotional energy reserves by letting go of the painful past, one small step at a time, as to have energy to remain present so that we may be fortified to do our real internal work.
2. Forgive yourself for past mistakes.-There’s power in forgiveness! Although depending on who and what has happened, forgiveness can seem almost impossible. We must remind Black Men that once we achieve self-forgiveness, lots of “heart space” opens up for us to create and achieve things previously unimaginable.
3. Forgive all others you feel may have hurt you. - When you forgive yourself, you will find that it’s easier to forgive all others. Part of holding on to anger and resentment in the form of unforgiveness is that we blame ourselves on some level. Once we’re able to pinpoint the blame and shame of our own involvement, forgiveness shows itself and continues to do so with practice of mindfulness.
4. Nurture your mind, body and Spirit.-There’s no shortage of Black Men falling victim to a number of preventable ailments and mishaps. We must nurture our minds through things like meditation, affirmations, reading, prayer, solitude, etc. We must nurture our bodies through eating live foods, exercise, water and rest. We must nurture our Spirits through quiet-time, music, outdoor activity, nature, etc.
5. Start treating yourself as you would want others to treat you. - We must begin to see ourselves as the geniuses that we are and not take on any form of the media propaganda of Black men as criminals, aggressors and any other negative stereo-types. History has countless examples of excellence among Black men that are available everywhere as well as the excellence of today’s Black Men who continue to exhibit Black Excellence. Finding a mentor, coach, advisor, consultant, spiritual partner, counselor, etc., can help facilitate this journey.
Healed Black Men heal Black Men! Love & Light! Peace & Power!