Every 2 weeks, I share Total Bodi Enhance content that is geared toward overall wellness. It may be related to physical, emotional, mental, or any other kind of wellness.
This week, it just didn’t feel quite right to me to share a recipe or something like that in light of what’s been happening in our nation with the recent protests about police brutality, and specifically in response to the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others. It also seemed inauthentic to ignore it because it’s been a pretty big focus in my own wellness this past week.
As I reflected on how all of this has impacted my wellness this past week, I discovered what was (to me) a new form of wellness that I hadn’t really considered.
I’m calling it societal wellness.
For me, these are some of the things I think about in relation to societal wellness:
In this regard, I felt kind of unwell this week. It’s been really sad to see the pain expressed by so many regarding injustices and racial biases that still exist today, and especially to learn that protests for these same reasons have been going on for decades without any change. It’s been hard to see the rioting and looting as a way some (although the minority) have expressed that pain. It’s been painful to reflect on my own biases that I have and to face my lack of understanding and action to do anything about it.
While societal wellness is not totally in our control (just as diseases may put physical, mental, or emotional wellness outside of our total control), there are things we can do to improve our societal wellness (just as we can exercise, eat right, get good sleep, receive counseling, etc. to stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well).
My purpose in this post is not to draw attention to myself or use current events to build my business, but to really just share my family’s experience trying to be well this week. I am not an expert to speak on this, nor am I saying you should do what we did, but it seems relevant and hopefully useful.
I also realize many people have made this a political hot topic. I hope that doesn’t happen here. My family’s focus this week has been to pay attention to things that invite and entice us to do good, and helping get rid of racism in ourselves, our family, and (in some small way) our nation seems good to us.
Before this all happened, we had been discussing racism and the injustices black people face. A few months ago, Erik read Just Mercy and we later watched the movie. So it’s been something on our minds, but this past week has made us want to do more, learn more, and be better.
First, to provide some context, we’ve needed to really be honest with ourselves. We’ve been pretty clueless about what life is like for black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC). Erik and I both grew up in predominantly white, Christian, conservative communities. We went to predominantly white, Christian, conservative schools and attended predominantly white, Christian, conservative churches. I am not saying that is bad. On the whole, we are proud of and happy with our upbringings, but that was just the way it was. We never really had to, nor thought to, take the time to learn about BIPOC and what life is like for them.
With that context, Erik and I have tried to identify and talk about the biases we have. It can be hard to honestly face the biases within ourselves and tell ourselves we’ve been wrong to think that way. I’m not saying we’ve been intentionally racist, but I do make those little judgments or assumptions or labels for people based on how they appear, without knowing them at all, and it’s wrong.
Next, we’ve been trying to learn more about what black people have experienced for decades, even centuries, and trying to empathize to some degree. Some of this has been uncomfortable especially because I’m pretty sensitive to violent or graphic media. The whole “it’s just a movie” doesn’t really work in my mind, it all feels really real. In this case, I think that has been good for me because it is very real for so many black people, but still really hard. Here’s some of the specific things we’ve done to learn in an effort to empathize:
As we’ve learned more about what BIPOC have gone through and tried to empathize, we’ve wanted to do something. So far, here are some things we’ve done or plan on doing:
Our response hasn’t been perfect by any means, but this isn’t meant to compare responses. I really just wanted to share that societal wellness is a thing, that there are things we can do to improve our societal wellness, and what that has looked like for me and my family this week.
And honestly, even though it’s been uncomfortable and hard, it feels good. Rather than not paying attention or subconsciously thinking “it’s not my problem” I feel somewhat involved. I haven’t marched in a protest, but I’m doing things to change myself and some of my sphere of influence for the better, and that feels really good.
So, if you’ve felt a little unwell in relation to current events and think that rooting out racism is a good thing, know that we can do something for our personal experience of and contribution to societal wellness. Just like I would encourage you to be active, eat right, and take care of your body, mind, and spirit, let’s all do something to improve our societal wellness.