By: Stefanie Flores
Profession in U.S.: Mental Health Therapist
I think I have rebellion in my blood.
But who defines what rebellious behavior is?
As a second-generation Mexican-American woman, rebellion could be interpreted as going against my cultural norms, which presents a lot of “shoulds” on women.
“You should be married by a certain age. You should have a lot of kids. You should let your husband be the decision maker in your family. You shouldn’t dress like that. You shouldn’t be so selfish.”
Yet, the messages I grew up with from my single mom and encouraging grandparents were way different. “You should go to college. You should always be able to take care of yourself. You don’t have to have kids if you don’t want to.”
As a mental health therapist, empath and self-care blogger, I push self-care like it’s a drug. Self-care is not selfish. It’s like oxygen. We all need it to survive. And when our self-care suffers, we struggle to breathe. So how does self-care and cultura connect?
My cultura pushes women into suffocating, busy little boxes with little room for growth. Mmmm no, not me. I can love my culture AND love myself in the same breath. I can meditate, collect healing crystals and eat healthy food while listening to cumbia. I can vacation in Cancun with my husband and reconnect with ocean waters that invigorate my tired soul. I can enjoy my mom’s homemade gorditas in the morning while typing up affirmations for my blog audience. I can be a wife AND an entrepreneur.
When I studied Chicano History in college I learned about leaders who could no longer stay quiet. My people had to get loud in order to be heard. As leaders and heroes, they knew it would take sacrifice in order to make change. Non-violent rebellion is a practice that could apply to our personal lives we well.
In my opinion, therapy is a form of leadership. My role as a healer is to empower people to take leadership over their life, needs, values, and sometimes their cultural restrictions.
Self-care is the ultimate form of leadership, or rebellion, against something we need to change. Think of the vampires that sap our energy: stress that can drain us of our health and happiness, long work hours, finances, toxic people, failing health, doubt. When we rebel against these vampires with self-care, we reclaim our power. Being a leader or powerful energy source in any cultura is a benefit to all of us.
In a society full of barriers, no matter if you’re a 1st or 2nd generation American, being empowered is a necessary armor. Because as warriors, all of us deserve a break too.
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- Stefanie Flores is a licensed mental health and addictions therapist in Las Vegas. She currently works with abuse survivors and is passionate about women’s issues. She is of Mexican-American heritage and grew up in San Jose, CA. She writes a self-care and lifestyle blog called The Focus On You. Her blog aims to remind people of the importance of self-care and mental wellness. She plans on writing a self-care book this year and enjoys being an inspirational leader on her social media pages. Follow her blog: The Focus On You
- Images courtesy of Stefanie Flores
- Follow Stefanie on Instagram and Facebook: @thefocusonyou