As a DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) mental health consultant who recently completed racial trauma training with a group of predominantly white social workers, I found myself in a somatic therapy session three days later reflecting on my experience. My therapist asked a simple yet profound question: “Do you ever feel empowered coming out of these trainings?” My immediate response was a straightforward “no.” But as I delved deeper into the question, I uncovered a complex mix of emotions and a surprising revelation – passion.
Before delving into the layers of my response, let me provide some context for you. These trainings, while vital for promoting DEI, often evoke a range of emotions within me. Before stepping into these spaces, I experienced a heightened sense of hypervigilance, anxiety, and fear. These feelings stem from the uncertainty of the level of responsiveness I’ll encounter and the fear of potential challenges or resistance.
So, why did I answer “no” to feeling empowered after these trainings? The overarching emotion I experience is relief. Relief that I made it through, that the difficult conversations were had and that progress was made, albeit with its fair share of struggles.
However, during that somatic therapy session, something shifted. I began to explore the concept of empowerment on a deeper level. What emerged was a surprising recognition of passion within me. While I may not yet feel fully empowered, I realized that I am passionate about the work I do. This passion, I understood, was my source of motivation and resilience.
But what’s noteworthy is that my experience of passion isn’t a straightforward one. It’s rooted in the pain, challenges, and barriers I encounter in the DEI field. It comes from the relentless pursuit of equity, justice, and inclusivity. It’s born from countless conversations where I’ve had to advocate, educate, and challenge the status quo.
Yet, it’s precisely this passion that keeps me going. It fuels my determination to create change, even when the path ahead is uncertain and challenging. It reminds me that I’m deeply committed to my work and to making a difference in the world.
So, while I may not yet know what full empowerment feels like in these contexts, I’ve come to accept my passion as a valid and powerful force. I’ve realized that it’s okay not to have all the answers, as long as I can hold onto my passion. It’s a reminder that, despite the obstacles, I remain steadfast in my pursuit of a more equitable and inclusive world.
In conclusion, my somatic therapy session allowed me to explore my emotions on a deeper level and uncover the strength of my passion. It’s a reminder that sometimes, in the face of adversity, our passion can be the driving force that sustains us. As I continue my journey in the DEI mental health field, I’ll carry this passion with me, hoping that it has the power to lead me toward empowerment and lasting change.