By Teressa Carter, MSW, LCSW
Across the United States of America, millions of Americans young and old take great pride in living here and celebrating freedom every on Independence Day. Juicy watermelon, delicious barbecue, and vibrant fireworks fill the sky across the country as we celebrate living in the aptly named “land of the free”. However, not everyone gained true freedom that day.
Juneteenth, which is short for “June Nineteenth” is the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed. This event occurred two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and almost 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Texas was the last state to set all enslaved persons free, and on June 17, 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday honoring the end to slavery in the United States.
As you can imagine, this holiday holds great meaning to many- both in mind and in heart. Holidays and celebrations such as this hold the key to reminding us how far we have come as a nation, and that all people are deserving of love and respect. Juneteenth is not just a celebration of the end of physical enslavement, but a celebration of diversity and individuality.
So as we celebrate this Juneteenth, we invite you to take a deeper look and allow yourself the space to embrace not just who you are today, but who you have been and who you hope to be. Holidays like Juneteenth teach us resiliency, determination, healing, and the importance of recognizing the value in everyone, including ourselves. Self-love begins with recognizing our own needs, so here are a few small ways you can honor your own value during this holiday and throughout the rest of the year.
- Set boundaries
Remember, nobody can take care of you as well as you can. Give yourself permission to speak up if you don’t want to cook the pot roast, feel too tired to go to the zoo, or just need some alone time.
- Set goals
While hearing the term “goal setting” can feel overwhelming at times, goals can be anything: whether it’s taking a candy-making course with your mother-in-law, changing the oil on the car, or spending an hour a week reading a good book. Ask yourself, “What would make me feel more satisfied with my life right now?”, “What would bring me greater peace?”, or even something like “What would make my day feel more enjoyable?” and follow through!
- Talk with someone who cares
Whether it’s a friend, family member or therapist, choosing to spend time in an environment where you can be your authentic self and feel accepted and valued is one of the greatest forms of self-care. Talk about whatever is on your mind- anything from frustrations to successes, and anything in between! If you don’t have a place where you feel accepted and loved for who you are, spend some time looking for one. Therapy is a great place to start!
This Juneteenth let’s take the opportunity to celebrate our resiliency and recognize our own value. If you are searching for a place to start your own mental or emotional healing journey, we have worked hard here at Heading to create a safe and diverse environment to allow you to honor your individual path. We’d love for you to give us a call at 855-204-2502 to learn more about the services and support we offer, or how to find a mental healthcare partner that’s right for you.