Do you feel overwhelmed by the ongoing issue of racism? You want to do something, but you don’t know what to do. In this interview with Julia Marie Hogan, learn how to give authentic love by listening.
Julia’s a licensed counselor and author of It’s Ok to Start with You. She’s an advocate for self-care and a panelist for the Start Again Financial Resilience Webinar on June 25th. It’s a free virtual event to break through isolation, take back your year, and never ever give up. Mental health is a rising concern with racism, isolation, and stress. Register here now.
In This Interview Find Out:
- The Dangers of Being Indifferent towards Racism
- Understanding Trauma and How it Effects the Body and Brain
- How to Deal with Feeling Helplessness
- Why Self-Care is Vital Now More Than Ever
First off, Julia acknowledges racism is a complex issue and she doesn’t have all the answers. After news of George Floyd, she didn’t want to add to the noise but contribute something meaningful. “I was trying to figure out what is the best way to respond as a therapist,” said Julia.
She concluded, “Listening is important when you’re talking about oppression and racism.”
How to Give Authentic Love by Listening with Julia Marie Hogan
She posted online, “One of the greatest gifts we can give someone is to actively listen to their story and try to understand their experience. It’s another way of saying, ‘You matter. You are loved.’”
Julia explained that a core part of being human is wanting to be loved. Part of love is to be truly seen and understood.
“We’re always looking for authentic love. This means, ‘I see you. I love you.’ It’s not dependent of looking a certain way. When we don’t experience love we feel unheard and rejected,” said Julia.
In psychology, the attachment theory explains the need for love, affirmation, and validation without fear of rejection or abandonment..
If you want to make an impact in the movement towards racial equality, then start by listening. Julia recommends truly listening and looking for what’s deeper than the words. Active listening is coming from a place of wanting to understand.
The Dangers of Being Indifferent towards Racism
She explained that we need to take care of each other. “It isn’t your job to solve everything right now. It’s more what makes the most sense to respond in some way,” said Julia.
Not doing anything with the fight to end racism still makes you a participant. Julia said being indifferent communicates, “This is status quo and I’m not interested in changing it. You’re absolving yourself of responsibility.”
If you deny the reality that racism exists, then you’re gaslighting people who experience racism.
Julia explains, “Gaslighting is invalidating someones experience. Usually it’s in little ways that slowly chip away to the point of doubting your own reality.”
Statements like, ‘You’re making a big deal out of nothing,’ or ‘I hear your story, but this other story is worse’ is invalidating and toxic.
Understanding Trauma and How it Effects the Body and Brain
Soldiers coming back from war aren’t the only people who experience trauma. “Now, there’s a broader definition of trauma,” said Julia.
Watching the video of George Floyd is traumatic. Trauma can also be completely relational (without physical harm). It’s traumatic when you’re not experiencing love or validation. Trauma then reshapes the body and brain. When triggered, your brain goes into flight or fight mode.
How to Deal with Feeling Helplessness
Julia said, “It’s important to acknowledge these are tough times.”
A purpose in your life gives you strength to work through difficult experiences. “If you have a purpose, it doesn’t take away the challenge. It gives you the fighting spirit and courage to face those things,” said Julia.
Julia recommends focusing on how you respond to the current situation. From her clients she sees firsthand people feel better when they take action and take a stance. Define a “why” and purpose with your challenges now to overcome feeling helpless.
Why Self-Care is Vital Now More Than Ever
With trauma, depression, and anxiety, self-care is more important than ever.
Julia advocates strongly for self-care and said, “We all have a purpose. You can’t live that purpose if you’re exhausted and a human doormat.”
She defines self-care as any practice that promotes your physical, mental, emotional, relational, or spiritual well-being. Julia wants to dismantle the misconceptions people have about self-care. “It can be misunderstood as being selfish. Self-care isn’t about getting a manicure,” said Julia.
In It’s Ok to Start with You she stated, “We operate under the belief that if we work hard enough and long enough, push ourselves enough, we’ll prove to others and ourselves that we are worth something.”
The quest to prove our worth is unfulfilling and the end result is feeling overwhelmed and inadequate.
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You are Worthy of Love
If you’re dealing with discrimination know this: you’re worthy of love and you matter. Recognize your inherent worth and spend time prioritizing taking care of yourself. Stress left unchecked leads to exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, low motivation, and living with a mental fog. “We lose our resilience and our ability to bounce back when we’re battling the crippling effects of stress,” she wrote.
Julia said self-care starts with knowing, “The very fact that you exist means that you are worthy of love.”
Julia recommends getting good sleep, exercising, eating healthy, investing in healthy relationships, and being mindful of your emotions.
In times of crisis, take care of yourself. “When you radiate the knowledge that you are a unique human being worthy of being loved, it’s contagious, and others experience it and benefit from it,” wrote Julia.
Thank you Julia Marie Hogan for showing how to give authentic love by listening!
P.S. Do you have a question about racism, authentic love, active listening, mental health, or self-care for Julia? Submit your question here to ask Julia live during the Start Again Financial Resilience Webinar and be sure to register (it’s free!). Want a clear path to self-care? Get her book to craft a self-care plan just for you.