Why Being Ghosted Hurts

Why Being Ghosted Hurts

The term “ghosting” refers to when someone you believe cares about or is at least interested in you, suddenly stops contacting you or responding to your efforts to reach out to them. It could be someone you’ve been on a few dates with, talked to everyday for the last couple of weeks through texting or even someone you considered to be a potential serious partner.

Ghosting can happen gradually, such as messages and phone calls becoming less and less frequent, or most commonly ghosting can happen suddenly with the person appearing to have simply dropped off the face of the Earth and vanished as the term implies.

Although the term may be new, ghosting itself is definitely not. People have been getting ghosted probably since the beginning of time, but with more people meeting and connecting online, it’s become easier to ghost other people, therefore, increasing the odds that you will get ghosted.

With more people meeting online and more people caring out a large part of their relationships online and through messaging, ghosting people today doesn’t have the same social consequences it used to have. If you ghost someone today, it’s less likely that you share a lot of the same friends and social connections, so disappearing on them doesn’t impact other parts of your world.

Being Ghosted Usually Isn’t About you

When have invested your time, energy and emotions into another person and then they suddenly drop out of your life, it can be very puzzling and even devastating, especially to those who already have self-esteem problems.

However, people tend to ghost other people because of their own emotional discomfort, lack of emotional intelligence and inability to communicate. They rarely think about how it will make the other person feel which is why ghosting can come off as a very selfish, cold and narcissistic act.

People often ghost when they don’t know how to say what they want so they just disappear because to them that is easier than having the conversation. Many times people get scared in a relationship so they leave or they may not think it is that serious so they don’t feel like they owe the other person anything, especially an explanation to why they are no longer interested. Definitely as I stated before, the online dating culture where we have less real life social connections, makes it easier to just stop communicating without giving any type of closure to the other person.

Men are notorious for ghosting, but it happens to us to. The more someone has been ghosted, the more likely they are to ghost someone in return. I’ve been ghosted a couple of times and it has always taken me by surprise because I thought the other person and I had a relationship where we would at least be friends, and then they were gone.

How Does it Feel To Be Ghosted?

If you have never been ghosted before, and I hope you never will be, I can tell you from my experience that it initially left me in shock and disbelief. I was angry because I felt like I had a great connection with someone. It was as if they had died, but they hadn’t. It was very painful and made me feel disrespected as if I wasn’t even good enough to have the conversation with. It made me feel disposable, especially the second time it happened. I feel like I could never just disappear on a person I supposedly cared about, so it made me question how could people do that to me? What was it about me that made me not worth even giving closure to? It felt like torture, being unsure of exactly what happened to both the relationship and the person. Of course you get over it and move on, but only after you gather yourself up off the floor.

Why Does Being Ghosted Hurt So Bad?

For some people, being ghosted may not hurt very much. They may be able to let go and move on easier than other people. They may understand that in this day and age, people tend to be less attached and see ghosting as a byproduct of dating.

For most people, being ghosting hurts. It feels disrespectful and creates questions and doubts about themselves and relationships.

Ghosting hurts because it’s a form of social rejection that triggers emotional pain. It hurts because it’s the ultimate silent treatment and in relationships, the silent treatment is considered emotional abuse. It hurts because it’s a passive-aggressive act that is psychologically and emotionally cruel. It hurts because we typically don’t see it common. It’s as if the rug were pulled from under our feet.

As I said in the beginning of this post, being ghosted has nothing to do with you. What it tells you is that the other person is too immature to have a mature healthy relationship and that they don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, or yours… or even worse, are too narcissistic, immature or selfish to care about your feelings. In any case, they are not someone you want to be in a relationship with. Do not allow being ghosted to make you question your worthiness or become jaded when it comes to relationships.It’s not about you, no matter how personal it may feel.

6 Ways To Take Control Of Your Life

6 Ways To Take Control Of Your Life

Sometimes life can make you feel like a rag doll being tossed around from one crisis to the next, one situation to the next and even one emotion to the next.

In this new year, it’s time we finally start taking real control over our lives. The way we do this starts with making a shift within ourselves.

We have to realize that we are in control. That we are unique individuals here to serve a purpose and we all have special talents and gifts to offer the world. We all deserve happiness and success and we can’t depend on anything or anyone outside of us to provide that.

We have to take control of our thoughts, emotions and actions.

I’m never going to pretend to have all the answers or to be someone who has no problems. I have lots of them, trust me. However, I’m on a constant quest to change my life for the better. Sometimes that means taking inventory on my thoughts and feelings and shifting them so that a five minute incident doesn’t ruin the next sixty plus minutes of my day. Sometimes that means truly apologizing for something once I’ve stop trying to justify it and realize I was in the wrong.  Other times that means letting go of whatever is holding me emotionally hostage (fear, anxiety, etc.).

The way I do that isn’t always fast and easy, but for the most part it is effective and becomes easier and easier to do. It’s like a switch that goes off. A shift in thought and emotions so that I don’t continue to go down the same path feel irritable, angry, sad, self-doubting.

Anyone can do this and here are six tips to help you start shifting your mind whenever you want to:

 

  1. Stay optimistic. I know sometimes that is easier said then done, especially when you are surrounded by so much negativity in the world, but once you start feeding into the negativity, it’s hard to see anything positive that comes your way. You have to remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We create so much of what’s around us and if we are focused on the negative, we will bring more negativity. If we focus on the positive, we’re more likely to bring more positivity into our lives or at least see opportunity in difficulty.
  2. Be happy! Yes, this too I know can be hard and sometimes we have to work really hard on being happy, but just like optimism, the more you exude happiness, the more likely you are to feel and stay genuinely happy.  Force yourself to smile. Force yourself to be positive and before you know it, you will feel better and draw to you energy that will bring about genuine happiness.
  3. Realize your strengths and utilize them. We all have strengths, but sometimes we focus so much on our weaknesses that we downplay or outright forget about our strengths. When we start focusing on our strengths and looking for opportunities to use them, not only will we fell better, we’ll actually grow stronger within our natural gifts and talents.
  4. You’re not going to please everyone. Some people just won’t like you no matter what you do so stop worrying about them, trying to win them over or searching for their approval. It’s a waste of time. Instead, focus on people who do like you and perhaps those who don’t like you will come around. Even if they don’t, who cares?
  5. Stay away from negative people. We all emit energy, just like the sun. Some days it’s positive, some days it’s negative. However, some people emit way more negative energy than positive energy. Stay away from those people, all they will do is bring you down and cast a dark shadow over your life.
  6. You’re never alone. Sure there will be times when you feel lonely, or like you’re the only one going through something, but remember, you are never truly alone unless you want to be, and that’s okay too. Sometimes we need solitude and there is a difference between solitude and loneliness. When you start thinking you’re all alone that opens the door to all type of \emotional reactions such as depression and desperation as well as poor choices to fill the void.

 

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Sometimes when I am struggling, reflecting on messages that were sent to me like this one helps shift my thoughts and mood and reminds me that I am in control of how I choose to experience whatever is going on around me.

I’m not saying any of this is easy. Sometimes It’s downright hard to attempt to be positive and happy and some times will be harder than others. However, we don’t have to be lead by the world, other people or even our own emotions and negative self talk. We can take control and steer our lives into the direction we want to go even with whatever roadblocks, detours and traffic jam life throws at us.

 

 

You Are A Gift

iStock_000018620938_Medium-500x333Earlier today I was speaking with a fifteen year old girl in our juvenile detention center. She is experiencing depression and is 6 weeks postpartum so I was concerned about her. As we talked, I started to understand some of the sources of her depression.

During our session, she revealed that her mother also gave birth to her when she was fifteen and that her biological father has been in prison since she was three years old. Her mother is currently married to a verbally and physically abuse man that she feels her mother places before her in order of importance, attention and affection.

As this young lady and I talked, she described how she grew up feeling like a burden to her young, single mother and how after her mother had other children and multiple boyfriends, she was always made to feel like she was “in the way”.

It became very apparent that this young woman, consciously or unconsciously, had a baby at fifteen years old, partly so that she could have someone in her life that didn’t make her feel like a burden, but gave her the unconditional love she has been yearning for. However, due to her own psychological damage, she now sees her 6 week old baby as a burden and if she doesn’t learn to change the way she views herself, she will pass on that damage to her child.

What I discussed with her this morning and will try to instill in her is this:

We are the greatest gifts we can ever give ourselves. We are also gifts to other people and the Universe. Our children, if we have any, are also gifts.

Too many people grew up being made to feel, even as children, that they were a burden. Maybe they were born to parents who themselves were brought up in painful situations where they did not truly know how to love and appreciate others.

Maybe their parents conceived them as a resolution  to fixing a broken relationship or “save” a troubled marriage. Maybe their parent expects them to be their caretaker, or they were simple born during a difficult time of their parents lives and they were never able to be truly enjoyed, loved, appreciated and viewed as precious gifts as children.

Many of us have grown up never feeling truly accepted and carrying these feelings on unconscious and conscious levels that we were and are a burden.

This is how people can fall into a deep depression or become suicidal, thinking that the World would be better off without them.

This type of thinking is what keeps people from truly connecting with other people on any level or truly enjoying life.

Because of this they end up beating themselves up all the time with negative self-talk, not appreciating themselves, walking around apologizing for themselves, feeling like other people know better and are better than them.

For those of us who have received this terrible message growing up, it’s time to change it.

You are not a mistake. You are not here by accident. You are here because we are supposed to be here.

Our lives have purpose and intention.

We don’t have to apologize for being here or for being ourselves. We don’t have to beat ourselves up over our past mistakes or experiences that have helped create who we are now. We don’t have to be ashamed, apologetic or doubt the beauty that is our unique selves.

We are not a burden and if our parents are the ones who tried to put that on us, it’s time to recognize that it is their issue and not ours. We don’t have to carry that with us. We can let it go.

We are precious gifts and today we will start treating ourselves as gifts to others, the Universe and especially ourselves.

I AM: The Shortest Sentence In The Written Word, The Two Most Powerful Words In The Universe

1609951_10153272920026605_3017107923737994968_nThe other day I came across this picture on Facebook and it immediately reminded me of a book I read called I AM: Discovering The Power of Who You Really Are. It’s still today one of my favorite books because it helped me realize how powerful those two words truly are.

The reason those two words, I AM, are so powerful is because those are the words that help us create our world, our realities. We are always saying to ourselves, largely subconsciously, I AM. It can be as simple as, “I AM bored” or as self-destructive as, “I AM nothing”.

What happens is that whatever we say we are, we will subconsciously start creating experiences for ourselves to confirm what we think we are. It’s the way we stay somewhat sane and try to keep our world in balance.

If we subconsciously or consciously say and believe, “I AM a loser”, we will continuously put ourselves in situations to lose. We will not try hard to win even if we are lying to ourselves that we are. We are expecting to lose and so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if we somehow win, that will not be enough to change our thoughts of I AM a loser, we will just chalk it up to luck or even say, “I should have loss” or “It doesn’t matter that I won, I AM still a loser”.

When we say those words, I AM, we are defining ourselves, how we view the universe, how we experience our experiences and our state of mind.  We control all of that. No outside forces, no other person. Even someone in prison has power in choosing how he defines his I AM, his experience.

Our internal dialogue is very powerful, that’s why it is important for us to take control of it and redirect it, especially when it’s being self-destructive or not pushing us in a positive direction.

Those words, I AM are with us every second of the day.  They are so powerful and help us create so much of our emotions, our reality and our experiences that they help us create matter! They help us create matter because they help us decide what matters in our lives.

Sometimes when I am working with people that are extremely emotionally charged about something, I’ll stop and ask them, why does it matter? Often times they will stop crying or yelling and look at me with a puzzled look on their face. Then I’ll tell them that it only matters because they are making it matter and if they decide that it no longer matters, it won’t. I could almost see the burden being lifted from them as they realize that they have the power to let go of whatever emotions they had been holding on to (sometimes for years) because they decided to no longer make it matter.

Of course it’s not always that simple, but a surprisingly amount of the time it is.

So many people are in various degrees of emotional pain right now because they have no real control over their I AM. Who they are, their emotions and who they tell themselves they are on a subconscious level, is heavily influenced by other people and the ups and downs of daily life. If they only knew how powerful they truly were they could bring an end to much of the angst, depression and anger.

The Basics

  1. We create our reality.
  2. Fear tends to bring about the very thing that is feared.
  3. Faith (not necessarily religion) tends to bring about powerful outcomes.
  4. People tend to be products of their environments (but this doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t change).
  5. You cannot go back in the past and change anything you did (so don’t keep beating yourself up over it).
  6. Failure does not define who you are. You do.
  7. You create and experience your life. No one can live your life for you or is responsible for how your life turns out.
  8. You are the exclusive author of your story. You are the creator of this experience called life.
  9. You and only you can choose your interpretation of and reactions to your life experiences. You control your emotions.
  10. You are making it all what it is.

Sensitive People: Absorbing Other People Emotions

Teenage girl looking thoughtful about troublesI’m highly sensitive to other people emotions and energy. I have been for probably all of my life, but it is something I have just become aware of in the past few years. I can be having a good day, feeling happy and all it can take is an interaction without someone close to me, to bring me down.

When I discovered this sensitivity, it was quite alarming. It seemed like my mood and even the way I felt about myself were dependent on how the people around me were feeling and even how they felt towards me at that moment. You can imagine the amount of stress, anxiety and uncertainty it would cause me and often times I didn’t understand why. Looking back I think I thought that they’re mood and feelings had something to do with me. It took a lot of introspection before I realized a few things:

  1. Rarely if ever did the other persons mood, feelings or behavior have absolutely anything to do with me and,
  2. I can not control other people’s feelings.

A large part of it boiled down to control. I wanted everyone around me to be happy, to like me, to treat me the way I would treat them, and when they didn’t, I automatically assumed it was my fault and whatever joy or happiness I had would go away and turn into either self-blame, dysthymia or anger, especially when the people were close to me such as a girlfriend or close friend.

It took a long time for me to start working on not allowing other people emotions to affect mine, and honestly it is something I still struggle with on nearly a daily basis. Some days are better than others and when I do find myself losing my inner peace to someone else’s energy, I get discouraged because I know it’s not about me and that I can’t control their emotions nor should I allow them to have power over mine.

I learned however that if I beat myself up too bad for allowing someone to move me from my inner peace, I end up doing more emotional harm than good because I become negative towards myself for being “weak” or even “stupid” (negative self-talk never helps and is almost always a recipe for increased anxiety and depression).

I’m starting to realize that one way to stop giving so much power to other people over my emotions is by not expecting things from them that they can not give me, such as unconditional love, unconditional positive regard or fulfilling any of my various needs that can only be filled by me and God. By not expecting those needs to be met by others I have taken back much of my power, but still at times, it’s a struggle just like when trying to undo any bad habit physically or mentally.

Some Negatives to Being Hypersensitive

As I stated above, being hypersensitive to other people emotions makes it very easy to be affected by others emotions, usually not for the better. This can be very draining and overwhelming and can easily lead to anxiety and depression. This can cause us to withdraw so that we can process and deal with our emotions, which other people may not understand and take it negatively that we need time and space alone, especially since we live in a culture that devalues sensitivity. Lastly, hypersensitive people may have unrealistic expectations of perfectionism towards themselves (i.e., everyone is supposed to like me).

Some Positives About Being Hypersensitive

Just like most things that are negative, there are of course positive things about being hypersensitive emotionally. I think evolutionarily it helps us to pick up slight shifts in someones temperament or even the energy around us. I’ve been in rooms where everyone around me was talking, yet no one noticed the sudden shift in tension, or how someone else became emotional, angry or nervous during a certain topic. I would sometimes leave those situations knowing more about a person I didn’t even talk to just by watching the subtle changes in their expressions.

I think being hypersensitive to other people emotions help me to be more in touch with my own emotions. I’m always amazed at how many people aren’t in touch with their emotions and as a counselor, often it’s my job to help them to get in touch with their true emotions so that they can start living a real, authentic life. We hide from our emotions, mask our emotions (even from ourselves) and often don’t know why we feel or act in certain ways because we are not used to being in touch with that part of us. Hypersensitive people are almost always, sometimes neurotically checking in with their thoughts and emotions.

I think being hypersensitive also leads to being more creative, to being able to express ones emotions more through music, art, dance, poetry and writing for example. It also makes us more empathetic to others which in the field of mental health is a must.

Some Tips for Hypersensitive People

  1. You have to recognize and acknowledge that you are absorbing other people emotions. I’ve been doing it for years and until I actually realized it, I wasn’t doing anything different to try to stop it.
  2. When you start feeling a certain way after an encounter with someone, ask yourself if what you are feeling is really your emotion or theirs. You’ll be surprised to find out that most of the time it’s not yours and if it’s theirs then immediately release it. This alone will make you feel better most of the time.
  3. Remember that you are not responsible for nor can you control other people emotions so don’t worry over it because in doing so, you’ll just be absorbing it into your own emotional state.
  4. Identify what/who is making you feel a certain way and try to distance yourself if you can. If you can’t, go back through steps 1 to 3. Sometimes it’s a particular friend or group of coworkers that are the main source. Putting some distance between you and them can help alleviate the problem.
  5. When you start to feel overwhelmed by other people emotions, even if you can’t get away, try mindfulness or deep breathing techniques to help bring you back to your own inner peace.
  6. Speaking of inner peace, always try to work on building up your own inner peace by being good to yourself, exercising, eating right, maintaining good emotional, physical and mental health and surrounding yourself with people who bring you good and positive energy. BE GOOD TO  YOURSELF!

Being hypersensitive to other people emotions is both a gift and a curse, but look at it like a power that you have to master so that you are in control of your emotions and able to use all of the positive qualities that come along with being sensitive to other people emotions.

 

How Early Is Too Early To Implant Self-Consciousness Into A Child?

istock_000014209545xsmallThis morning as I watched Good Morning America I saw an interview with “Teen Mom” star, Farrah Abraham, talking about how she waxes her three year old daughter’s (Sophia) uni-brow.

On her blog, sulia.com, Farrah, who is 20 years wrote:

“Recently I could not ignore it, like I know I’ve seen madonna’s duaghter have a stand out uni brow, I remember when I was little I had a unibrow, but I couldn’t remember if there was an age limit, a rule!”

“So here I am faced with a standout historical moment in motherhood when I can confirm to myself that my little, adorable,most cuddle-able cutie, baby girl has a Unibrow 😦 , I felt bad for her, and I started asking friends…. is this hair just going to fall out… is it just hormones at this age?, well the hair didn’t go away and others started saying it was here to stay.”

In an interview, Farrah said that she was also worried about her three year old daughter being teased about her uni-brow, so she talked to her daughter about waxing it, and even waxed her own eyebrows to show her daughter how it’s done.

“So I tryed to wax her, the second a dab hit the Uni, she touch it with the towel she had in her hand, UHHH so now, wax was in the towel, and I yanked it back ASAP, but fuzz was not stuck to the wax stuck to her Uni, OMG moment, So now sophia was freaking out, so I had to act like it was a cool science project to get the wax off,” Abraham said.

Once Sophia fell asleep, Farrah says she used tweezers to remove the rest.

“The next morning I showed her and told her how well she did and she didn’t even know, She was more intrigued now to be ok with upkeeping her non-unibrow. I could tell she was proud,”.

Farrah says she felt like a good mom afterwards, but some of her fans were shocked and appalled at her post.

As I heard about this story, I wish I could say I felt shocked, but I didn’t. It felt more like deja vu. Like I had heard this story, or something similar to it before.

And then of course I thought about the New Jersey mom who took her five year old daughter to a tanning booth, and the Georgia mom who allowed her ten year old son to get a tattoo.

In almost all of these and similar cases, the mothers seemed to be either clearly unstable, ignorant, uneducated or superficial.

Farrah Abraham, not to pick on her, but she doesn’t come across to me as the most educated and profound person.

At 20 years old, she is in many ways still a child herself. According to Good Morning America, she recently had a breast augmentation, a chin implant and rhinoplasty, which not only implies to me that she is superficial, but that she is also very self-conscious and may be passing this on to her daughter.

I seriously doubt that any three, four or five year old will tease her daughter over a uni-brow, but it’s much more likely that Farrah is self-conscious about it herself and is more worried about what her friends, other people or the media will say about her daughter’s uni-brow than Sophia’s peers.

What does waxing your daughters eyebrows when she is 3 years old say to her anyway? How does that affect her self-esteem and self-consciousness now and in the future?

Teaching your toddler that you should change the way you look to avoid being teased doesn’t sound like a great recipe for a healthy self-esteem and stable personality in the future.

Teaching them to love and accept themselves for who they are does. She can always do whatever makes her feel comfortable once she is old enough to understand what she is doing and why.

Many people may see nothing wrong with this story, or getting their 3 year old’s eyebrows waxed, a five year old tanned or a 10 year old tattooed.

Some comments I have read online say that it’s no big deal and that helping Sophia wax her eyebrows at 3 years old will help her get used to it and help her avoid getting teased in later years.

I don’t think this is the right approach. We all know that kids can be cruel and will tease each other about any and everything.

If they start teasing about her teeth, her hair, the way she walks, the way she talks, should she alter those things as well?

The reality of the situation is to each his own, but every decision has a consequence, positive or negative and even when you think you are doing what is in the best interest of your child, you may be implanting something in them you didn’t expect.

I Want To Have A Light-Skinned Baby: The Affects Of Colorism On Black Adolescent Females

ts-134028063-african-american-girl-school-istock-14259556-dean-mitchellToday in a small group of teenage girls that consisted of one Asian-Haitian-American female, one Haitian-American female and one African-American female, seemingly out of nowhere, the Haitian-American (a chestnut complected girl) blurted out, “I date White boys because I want to have a light-skinned baby.”

She didn’t say that she wants to marry a loving man and have healthy children, but that she wants to have a light-skinned baby.

Before I could comment, the African-American girl in the group (she’s about copper complected) quickly agreed with her (although her current boyfriend is deep chestnut complected), that she too wanted light-skinned babies.

I then turned to the the Asian-Haitian-American girl and asked her if she too wanted to have light-skinned children. She replied with the sensible answer, that she didn’t care how her kids came out. The other two girls quickly jumped in and said, “That’s because she is already light-skinned.”

I was shocked by their statements. Not because it was the first time I had ever heard Black teens make that comment, but because just on Sunday night I had watched CNN’s Who is Black in America with Soledad O’Brien, which explored colorism and identity in the Black community.

Some of the things that stuck out to me during the show, was how some darker skinned Blacks often did not like their skin tone and wanted lighter skin and how some lighter skinned Blacks didn’t want to identify with being Black at all.

These were more the exception than the rule, but a common enough trend to cause deep contemplating for not only Black people, but other people of color and those who teach, counsel or mentor people of color.

After watching that thought provoking show, I was a bit alarmed to have two of my teenage students basically say, “I don’t like my complexion and don’t want to have kids that look like me.”

I could go into the many different theories behind this sort of thinking, including brainwashing by the media, European standards of beauty and what is called Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, but those are all too extensive topics to cover here.

My main concern, is the affects this type of thinking has on these teenage girls self-esteem, self-value and self-worth.getty_rm_photo_of_africanamerican_teen_girl_in_mirror

When Black girls make comments like, “I want to have a light-skinned baby”, they are basically consciously or subconsciously rejecting vital parts of their self and their identity.

What they are saying at the most basic level is, “I don’t like my skin color, it is undesirable. I don’t like my hair, it is ugly. I want to make sure that my child comes out with lighter skin so that they will be prettier and better than I am.”

There is no way that a person with this type of latent thinking, can truly feel good about herself, her family or those that look like her.

This is a form of self-hate that she probably isn’t even aware she is influenced by, yet it shows up daily in her life through automatic thoughts, the way she feels about herself and the way she interacts with her world.

Black males are also affected by this.

Many Black males, especially athletes, entertainers and rappers quickly gravitate to and praise lighter skinned Black women, White women or women of other races. This sends a message to both young Black boys and girls.

To young Black boys it says that you have to have a light-skinned Black, Hispanic, White or other woman on your arm to truly show you are successful or have “made it”. To darker skinned Black girls, it says that you are ugly and undesirable. It says to light-skinned girls that you are coveted, not for your uniqueness, personality or intelligence, but for your appearance.

It’s sickening to me because most of these people are operating subconsciously under the influences of our countries painful history of racism. They have been brainwashed and don’t even know it.

It is hard for a people to feel good about themselves collectively, succeed collectively and grow collectively when there are so many of us that don’t feel comfortable in our own skin.

I believe this causes an increase in a multitude of issues including academic problems, violence, substance abuse and mental illness. stock-footage-an-angry-sad-girl-shows-her-frustration-black-and-white

Colorism doesn’t only affect Black people, but most people of color around the world who are influenced by European standards.

There have been many studies on the length some Hispanic cultures have gone through to guarantee that darker genes don’t enter (contaminate) their gene pool, so much so, that some families insisted on cousins marrying cousins.

In Brazil, before the rise of a pro Afro-Brazilian movement, many Black Brazilians didn’t identify as Black, and preferred to be identified as mulatto. Brazil even went through a period of “White washing” a few decades ago where the government was afraid that Brazilians were too African/dark-skinned and aggressively urged Europeans to migrate to the country to help lighten the face of Brazil.

Being identified as Black, around the world, has a very negative connotation behind it and many people try to escape that by denying they are Black all together if possible, preferring to be called Latino, Dominican, Puerto Rican, or whatever their nationality, despite their obvious African heritage.

I am not an expert on this subject from the Latino point of view, but I would refer you to the actress Zoe Saldaña, who is a Dominican-American and proudly calls herself a Black woman. And the Dominican-American author Junot Diaz who talks frequently about colorism in the Dominican community in his works.

In America, at least in the Black community, we seem to have to face and deal with colorism more often, most likely because we are only about 13% of the population and have such a long history of racism and prejudice.

I told these young girls not to date a guy because of the color of his skin or his potential to help her have lighter-skinned children with “good hair”, but to date a guy because he respects her, loves her and treats her like a queen.

This post is not about race, but it’s about how this type of thinking negatively affects many aspects of these girls lives.

These girls are all in counseling because of anger, self-esteem and depression issues. If I didn’t like my skin complexion, the texture of my hair or my self, I would have problems with anger, self-esteem and depression too.

I will continue working with these girls on accepting and loving themselves and plan on showing them this video (below) during our next group session, in hopes that it will help open up their eyes to some of the subliminal messages they have been receiving about themselves.

The video is only about ten minutes, if you have the time, take a look at it and tell me what you think. It talks about the Clark Doll Experiment, but it goes deeper with a personal touch.