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The 4th of July

The Fourth of July. Beneath the hoopla of fireworks and red white and blue adornments is a national holiday. It’s a holiday that can stir up feelings of belonging or not belonging. 

Living in the United States of America ties us to each other. But just because we live here, doesn’t mean we feel like we belong. In fact, more and more we are seeing what can happen when people don’t feel like they belong or are having to navigate other people’s ideas of who belongs.

We are inundated with horrific examples of our Black and African American neighbors being targeted at grocery stores, traffic stops, and just living their lives. Our Asian community members are also experiencing despicable attacks because of their race and ethnicity. The LGBTQ+ community is targeted even more depending on the state that you live in. And yet people continue to risk their lives to come and “live the American dream”. Who is allowed to come here, how long can they stay, and who is rejected from crossing the border?

A lot of immigrants come to America and bear children here. There are also children who grow up undocumented and weather the risk and fear of deportation daily.  

The idea of inclusivity can surface in our everyday lives in places we shop, take transportation, go to work, attend school, seek healthcare and more. The way we look-if we dress in ways that honor who we are – be it culture, religion, identity, the way we talk – accents that are international or regionally specific- can inform our ability or inability to connect with others. Those cultural characteristics that make us stand out as different can even impact our career paths and options and even determine how we live and where we live. It can even cause us to avoid opportunities because of feeling like an outcast.

Feeling othered, bullied, discriminated against, harassed, can wear us down. It can make us feel small and scared. It can make us fearful to try new things, meet people, or step out of our comfort zones. Are you living in a state of discomfort? This is where therapy can help. A therapist can support you in exploring your multifaceted identity and your self-worth. Therapy can address confidence, safety, fear, and feelings of belonging in a safe, supportive space. 


Written by:

Lauren Pena MFT, ATR, LMFT # 130687

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