Healing Within: Finding Ways to Heal after the Tragedies in Lebanon

Healing Within: Finding Ways to Heal after the Tragedies in Lebanon

Healing Within: Finding Ways to Heal after the Tragedies in Lebanon

Healing Hearts

Healing Within: For years, much of the Lebanese diaspora has grappled with struggles surrounding identity, belonging, security, and safety. In order to adapt to your new homeland, you had to give up a part of yourself. Many first-generation immigrants lived their lives hoping they would eventually be able to return home. They tried their best to hold onto and instill the traditions and beliefs of their forefathers to their children, but they also knew that the key to survival was to adapt. Through the years they found that their children were losing their ear for the language, tabbouleh was becoming more burghul than parsley, ketchup was becoming an acceptable accompaniment to kibbe, and worst of all, their dreams for returning home were becoming more and more distant. 

 The explosion in Lebanon has shattered more than windows and the structures that hold them in place. It has shattered the hearts and dreams of millions all over the globe. Just because you might no longer hold a Lebanese passport, does not mean you are any less Lebanese than those currently residing in Lebanon. Irrespective of whether you consider yourself, Beiruti temporarily working abroad, or a Midwesterner that calls your Nana, Teita, if you are part of the Lebanese diaspora, then you too have every right to feel what you’re feeling about what is happening in Lebanon right now.

Processing and Healing Within

Mourn The Loss – Give Yourself Space to Grieve

Just because you don’t speak Arabic, you left 20 years ago, or you’ve only visited a handful of times does not mean you are not entitled to grieve. Even if your home is intact or you do not personally know anyone who was directly impacted by the explosion, that does not mean you and your family have not experienced suffering and loss directly related to the situation in Lebanon throughout your lifetime.

For some, the explosion triggered past trauma and repressed memories of all they endured during the war. For others, it represented the final cutting of the cord between them and their dreams of ever returning home. There is a collective loss that is being felt by the entire community right now. One that has been years in the making. Everyone is feeling and reacting to this tragedy differently. Give yourself permission to explore and feel your feelings so that you too can begin healing within. 

[For more on Grieving and Healing Within, see: Life After Loss]

Embrace the Lebanese Aspect of Your Identity

One of the contributing factors for the Lebanese diaspora’s ability to thrive is their ability to assimilate into whichever culture they found themselves in. There’s a reason why very few know that Ralph Nader, Keannu Reaves, Shakira, Gloria Estefan, Tony Chalhoub, Zoe Saldana, Vince Vaughn, or Shannon Elizabeth are of Lebanese descent. Salma Hayek is more known for her Mexican-American heritage than her Lebanese one even though her name is as typical of a Lebanese name as they get.

It’s the very same reason very few people might know of your own Lebanese heritage. It’s not that you’re not proud of it, it’s a survival instinct picked up by your ancestors. You are Lebanese and however you internalize that is the correct way. There is no hierarchy or right way to embrace the identities you carry. As an online therapist, I have sat with hundreds of Arab-American clients through the years, and invariably our work together tends to include themes surrounding identity, belonging, and fit as they navigate between the old world and the new one they now call home.

Perhaps this is nothing new to you. Perhaps it is. At a time like this many are finding themselves feeling sensitive and even resentful of associates and colleagues who are not even acknowledging their heritage nor inquiring about the impact of the explosion on them. There are also feelings of survivor’s guilt that are being felt by many Lebanese residing abroad. They are feeling guilty that they fled their homeland, turned their backs on their loved ones and their culture, and have now not only survived but are also leading better lives than those they left behind.

Many are also feeling helpless being so far away and removed from the situation. If you’re experiencing some of these reactions to others’ attitudes, educate them about what is happening and if it feels safe, communicate your feelings to them. Perhaps even reach out and join a Lebanese initiative in your local community. Many organizations around the country are running fundraising and donation drives. Volunteering could help you connect with your roots, make new friends, and alleviate some of the feelings of helplessness, guilt, and resentment you might be currently feeling. 

[Emotional Self Care When Your Life is Falling Apart: How to Process the Darker Emotions of Life]

Lean Into Your Support System

Now is not the time to be brave and strong. Nor is it the time to isolate. Talk to your friends about what you are experiencing. Engage in open and honest dialogues with them. Your true friends will feel honored that you opened up to them and they can be with you during your time of need.

In times of crisis, we need to lean into our community as much as we can. Covid has prevented that for many which could be exacerbating your feelings about what’s happening in Lebanon. Humans are social creatures and the need for touch, community and bonding is real. Don’t shy away from reaching out. Who knows, you could also be helping someone else in the process.

Get Professional Help

Talk to a therapist or coach if your feelings become unmanageable or you feel no one understands. Events like this can trigger feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, PTSD, hopelessness, and fear. Don’t underestimate this traumatic event and the impact it might have created on you. There is no shame in asking for professional help to support so you can process your feelings and begin healing within.

 

Tania Chikhani, MBA, M.A.

online life coach arabic speaking therapist online life coach arabic speaking life coach career coach dating coach relationship coach

Tania Chikhani, MBA, M.A., is a Relationship Specialist as well as an expert Career and Executive Coach. She is trained in marriage and family therapy, mindfulness, and credentialed in career, executive, life, dating and relationship coaching. She can help you find, create and maintain passionate and fulfilling relationships while thriving in your career.

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Love Without Borders: Cross Cultural Relationships

Love Without Borders: Cross Cultural Relationships

Love Without Borders: Cross Cultural Relationships

Is There a Culture-Clash in Your Relationship?

How to Deal With Cultural Differences in a Relationship

As a marriage counselor and couples therapist l know that all relationships bring a variety of challenges and opportunities for growth. At the same time, some couples  — particularly those in cross-cultural relationships — feel that they have further to go in bridging the gap. Cross-cultural couples can have vastly different relationship expectations regarding gender roles in the home, the role of extended family, how to communicate, and so much more. While, ultimately, the diversity of their union can lead to an enormously strong and healthy relationship, couples from very different cultural or racial backgrounds sometimes need to work harder to create understanding and compromise.

Cross-Cultural Relationships

For the record, it is important to note that everyone comes into a relationship from a different family of origin that had its own values, belief system, internal culture and way of doing things. Even individuals who may, on a surface level, appear to be of similar backgrounds may have had entirely different “family cultures” that are influencing their expectations in their relationship with their partner. (This is the underlying reason why financial therapy for couples is so necessary!)

One big strength for interracial couples and international couples is an overt awareness that they need to openly discuss and respect these differences in order to achieve congruence. In contrast, couples who make the mistake of assuming that their partner’s life experiences were similar to their own run the risk of having unspoken assumptions and expectations lead to conflict and hurt feelings. Knowing from the outset that you both have perspectives, values and expectations that are simultaneously both different and equally valuable is a huge asset.

Navigating Cultural Differences in a Relationship

It’s very easy for couples to get entrenched in conflict rooted in a core belief of “right and wrong” when it comes to how to approach various aspects of their shared life. This can be especially true around hot-button issues such as:

These are points of conflict for many couples. However, if a couple in a bicultural marriage or with a multicultural family background has very different life experiences that they each wish to replicate in their marriage with each other… the battles can get fierce and even nasty. In contrast, cross-cultural couples who approach each other from a place of sensitivity and openness to understanding have the opportunity to learn and grow, celebrate their differences, and take the highest and best from both of their backgrounds in order to create a unique, beautiful blended culture in their new family, together.

Relationship Advice From Cross Cultural Marriage Counselors

To tackle these questions, and provide some direction for how to begin bridging the gap and building bridges to the center, I’ve asked some multicultural relationship experts to join me for this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Relationship coach Dr. Georgiana Spradling, MFT, Tania Chikhani, M.A, and Teresa Thomas, M.A., are marriage counselors who often work with cross-cultural couples and interracial couples, and have great relationship advice for how to create peace and harmony in your gloriously diverse family.

Specifically, we’ll discuss:

  • Why cross-cultural couples often get into power struggles about various aspects of their shared life.
  • The shift in perspective that can help you restore the empathy in your relationship and understand each other more deeply.
  • How to find ways of creating agreement, while simultaneously honoring and appreciating your differences.
  • How couples with different expectations of extended family roles can find balance between boundaries and togetherness.
  • How interracial couples can become a united front in understanding and confronting racial injustice, together.

Whether you’re in an interracial relationship, blending a multicultural family, or simply coming to terms that you and your seemingly-similar partner are actually coming into your relationship with very different perspectives, the perspective of marriage counseling experts Dr. Georgiana, Teresa and Tania can help. I hope you join us — click the player below to listen to the conversation!

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Love Without Borders: Cross-Cultural Relationships

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online life coach arabic speaking therapist online life coach arabic speaking life coach career coach dating coach relationship coach

Tania Chikhani is a Relationship and Career Specialist with an M.A. in Clinical Psychology, and an MBA in Global Business and Marketing. She has specific training in marriage and family therapy and relationship coaching, as well as mindfulness coaching, career coaching, executive coaching, and life coaching.

Her specialty is helping you create happiness and success in all areas of your life. Her work is focused on enabling you to create and maintain passionate and fulfilling relationships while continuing to thrive in your career. She is known for seeing the love and joy that’s possible for you, and for your relationships, even through your darkest days. Read Tania’s full bio…

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Lots of couples go through challenging times, but the ones who turn "rough-patches" into "growth moments" can come out the other side stronger and happier than ever before.

 

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Start your journey of growth together by scheduling a free consultation.

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