Healing Stories Project with Diane DeBella
Session Two: Societal and Cultural Influences
Session Two Podcast
Session Two Exercise: Societal and Cultural Influences
After you have listened to Podcast 2, sit in a quiet, comfortable place free of distractions to think about how you have been impacted by cultural and societal pressures. Think about different social institutions, including religion, education, government, media, and any others that come to mind, and thoughtfully contemplate how you have been influenced by each one.
- How much have you become a product of the society in which you live?
- Have you ever felt limited by cultural or societal constraints?
- Have you limited yourself because of cultural or societal beliefs?
Creating visuals can be very helpful as part of this exercise. For example, if you have been negatively impacted by society’s beauty ideal, look through some women’s magazines and clip images and articles that you find particularly eye-catching. Write a companion journal entry or poem describing how these images make you feel about yourself. Then, make a concerted effort to find more positive images and articles that come closer to describing how you would like to feel. These might be a bit more challenging to find, but it’s worth the effort.
When you can physically remove societal and cultural constructions that have negatively impacted you, and replace them with positive, encouraging messages of your own choosing, you can begin to visualize a more caring and nurturing environment, which will help support you as you continue constructing your own healing story.
Session Two Readings
Note: When you click on each selection below, the text will open as a PDF. If you’re reading on-line and the text is vertical, just right-click on the file and select “rotate clockwise.” If you have a Mac computer, click here to learn how to right-click, if you don’t already know how to do so.
Sue Monk Kidd, “Dance of the Dissident Daughter”
Dalma Heyn, “Love Lessons for Girls”
Dalma Heyn, “Burying the Sexual Past”
Adrienne Rich, “Anger and Tenderness”
Pam Houston, “Pregnancy and Other Natural Disasters”