Feeling like an outsider because of how you look, dress, or speak can be a lonely and distressing experience. You can feel confused, ashamed, angry, and helpless. At the same time, you can feel proud of your origins, of your ethnic and cultural background(s).
There can be tension while moving through different social groups, and with what feels like different sets of social rules and norms for each group, all while trying to discover who you are.
It can be confusing and overwhelming trying to figure out how to fit into each social group, as well as within the larger social world. You can at times feel far from yourselves when trying to fit in or adapt to the social structure and, at times, feel that you are betraying a part of yourself in order to fit in with a group. You can also feel torn in different directions as multiple cultural identities co-exist within yourself. The world and the people around you may not always feel safe or accepting. This tension can also sometimes result in a struggle in trying to find who you are. Sometimes in the attempts to navigate the world trying to find who we “should” be, we lose sight of who we really are.
Living in a society that espouses multiculturalism and inclusivity can be challenging at times, especially when experiencing discrimination and you are treated as ‘other.’ These experiences or attacks can be overt or subtle, and either way can leave behind deep emotional scars. There is a sense of immobilizing shock, of deep fear and anxiety, as well as anger. You may feel helpless and overwhelmed in such moments, and may ask: What just happened? What do I do? Who will help me? Will anything actually change if I speak up or do something?
At Lavender Counselling, our counsellors make space for you to answer, or to start to address some of those voiced or unvoiced questions, anxieties, or tensions. We will walk alongside you in exploring your cultural and personal identity, and in delving into any painful experiences you may have encountered with societal systems or institutions, or from within any of your interpersonal relationships with others.