As I speak about leadership among Latinas, we have to discuss the pieces ramping up to leadership: healing and growth.
I want to inspire Latinas to lead. I want us to push forward so that a large contingent of Latinas is ready and willing (!) to take the reins. At the same time, I know (from personal experience) that the foundational work to being able to lead is to heal yourself of your deep wounds first. Once you start the healing process, then that growth process can happen, and we can flourish.
Can I be candid? We, as Latinas, have issues. Many of us have had to deal with some pretty tough s**t in our lives! We go through experiences that leave behind their marks on us. We need to know solidly where we are to address these issues and step into our place on the national stage.
And, like it or not, we cannot run from the influences of what’s happened in our past.
We need to study our own individual problems and address them head on. We all have baggage, right?
But we need to go even further. Not only do we have to know our issues, but we have to open them up, confront them and then use those exact same issues – our sore spots – as the basis for our strength.
I know that this was and is true for me. I’ve been poor, a single teen mother, physically and sexually abused, gone through personal, work and financial challenges, and so on. I’ve been abandoned by parents in different situations. And I’ve made the conscious choice to heal myself from all of that so that now, I can tell you my personal story with intimate detail, and the wounds are healed. They’re not open and bleeding. I can take the lessons from what I went through without holding on to the anger, resentment, bitterness and pain.
Healing ourselves allows us to take the next steps, and develop our leadership. Because those wounds, whether we recognize them or not, will come out in unexpected ways if we don’t take the time to address them.
So I’m not here to be your shrink. But I am here to encourage you to do the hard inner work that needs to be done. We often jump too fast to the practical which – while useful – doesn’t get us very far if we haven’t done the groundwork.
In order to be prepared, we need to not simply “address our current challenges” but prepare for the future.
I do this work because I am Latina myself, and I see the importance of getting ourselves healthy.
And…We need to heal as a community.
Part of this healing happens by working on ourselves as individuals. Once we ourselves are whole, we can start to heal the groups to which we belong – our families, our communities.
When we are able to do this together, we will truly be able – as a group – to step into our power.
The first piece of this is addressing our own personal issues, and then we can dive into community challenges.
What do you need to heal, mujer? Because from my viewpoint, unless you had the very fortunate experience to grow up in a totally emotionally healthy environment, I believe you’re like the rest of us and have something to work on.
As for myself, I will continue to heal and grow for the rest of my life. I hope you’ll join me!