JAY-Z once said, "You can't heal what you never reveal," and this a truth that many people choose to avoid.
Opening up about our past traumas may feel like rubbing salt in an open wound. The reality is, if we aren't willing to take a deep, hard look at ourselves and all the things--particularly the bad--that have contributed to the people we are today, we will continue to internalize these things to our own detriment. Oftentimes, it's easiest to just start and stop with ourselves: trying to move past the things that happened to us growing up, learning to forgive others for the things they've done to us, or learning to simply forgive ourselves for our own wrongdoings, etc.
But how often are we willing to take a look at the generational traumas that have been passed down to us through no fault of our own?
Iyanla: Fix My Life/OWN
People speak of generational curses and generational trauma in an almost flippant way, but according to research, the effects of one's own life can actually be passed down through DNA. Essentially, trauma is being passed down to future generations through more than just simply learned behaviors. That's why it is important that we address not only our own personal scars, but that we also take a deep dive into our family and ancestral history to have a better understanding of our own behavioral patterns.
Motivational speaker and life coach Iyanla Vanzant has been the go-to support system for many people and families through her series Iyanla: Fix My Life. Now in its eighth season, the OWN Network series tackles one of the biggest hurdles faced in our community today: fighting the stigma of mental health. While the show has provided ample commentary and even some funny memes, the real value the show provides is that it continues to shine a light on the need to address mental health, addiction, and generational traumas that permeate our community.
"Sometimes as women, we really don't understand the importance of our culture, our environment, our ecology. What's coming down the line has been in this family. You all are acting it out the way you know how to act out." -- Iyanla Vanzant
Iyanla: Fix My Life/OWN
On the next episode, Iyanla sits down with Malorie and Cynthia Bailey of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Malorie is still reeling from the breakdown of her marriage and its pending divorce after 12 years. Not only does Malorie feel she's been living in her sister's shadow, the 49-year-old also reveals that her marriage was abusive and her self-esteem and self-identity is in a full-blown crisis. The perception that she is just "Cynthia's sister" is only making matters worse.
"And we'll do what's familiar and comfortable rather than try the unknown… Because the tree don't grow from the leaf to the root. It grows from the root to the leaf."
In this exclusive clip from the episode entitled "Broken Reality", Iyanla sits down with Malorie, Cynthia, their mother, and Malorie's daughter to get down to the root of the dysfunction. It is revealed that the abuse has been passed on from generation to generation, and that it is up to the family to reveal the truth of their past in order to break the cycle threatening to affect Malorie's young daughter as well.
When we are ready to address the generational traumas that continue to hold us back, then and only then can we begin to untie the knots that tangle up our healing. There is no shame in seeking outside, neutral counsel in order for us to process the inevitable emotions that will come once we open up about our wounds.
Mental health issues should not be covered up or swept to the side: when we refuse to take real, measurable steps to address what's going on internally, we are also hiding from ourselves and the world our truest potential.
Iyanla: Fix My Life, Episode: Broken Reality: Malorie & Cynthia Bailey airs on Saturday, September 29 (9 p.m. – 10 p.m. ET/PT) on OWN.
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