In this podcast (episode #513) and blog, I talk to writer, speaker, social worker, therapist and wellness coach Minaa B about her incredible new book, navigating difficult relationships, the power of community, healing childhood trauma, and so much more!
In her new book Owning Our Struggles: A Path to Healing and Finding Community in a Broken World, Minaa talks about the power of collective healing. Adversity comes in many forms, and can make us feel alone in our pain, even years after the fact. But as Minaa observes, we can’t heal in isolation. The best way to move past individual trauma is through connection and community—healing ourselves and one another.
In Owning Our Struggles: A Path to Healing and Finding Community in a Broken World, Minaa shares therapeutic tools, client stories, and actionable insights to help you on your healing journey, along with reflections from her personal experiences. Each chapter focuses on a common emotional struggle—from overcoming dysfunctional family patterns to developing emotional maturity, finding our village, navigating racial trauma, and moving past isolation and despair.
Through her unique mix of deeply honest personal stories, proven practices, and prompts for writing and reflection, Minaa helps readers finally face their struggles, get unstuck, and transform their thinking—to claim agency in their own lives and circumstances, and to use that power to help heal a broken world.
Whatever has happened to us, we are not powerless. Yes, people can and do harm each other, but we all have the ability to take what has happened to us and rewrite our own narrative. We can learn how to “own our struggles”. As Minaa points out, personal responsibility is key to a happy life. The past is not our destiny.
But owning our struggles does not mean acting as if they do not exist. Rather, it means recognizing that adversity happens to everyone, and that it doesn’t just go away if we ignore it. Owning the past is about what we are going to do about it now and when life gets hard. We can’t erase the things that happened to us, but we can choose how to manage what has happened so that it no longer controls us.
This will look different for different people, as there is no one way to “heal” or move forward. The key thing is understanding that empowering ourselves means acknowledging where we are in life and taking steps to get where we want to be—to give ourselves the life we deserve.
Yet this is not something we have to do alone. In her book, Minaa talks about the healing power of community and how it is an integral part of learning how to heal the past. She defines community care as, at its core, us tending to one another, caring for one another and holding each other accountable.
Why is this so important? Community issues are everyone’s issues, as they affect people’s sense of safety and security and their mental wellbeing and can be passed through communities as intergenerational trauma. Issues that are not addressed on both a communal and individual level can have long-term mental and physical health effects!
As Minaa notes in her book, “Adversity will come, and how you choose to face it will play a big role in the quality of your life and mental health. However, it doesn’t stop there. Self-healing may be powerful, but we are not healing to exist within a vacuum; we are healing to integrate within our community and build healthy, supportive networks. This is why community-care is so valuable.”
This kind of connection can happen in a lot of ways, even just going to church or the grocery store and saying hello to someone and calling them by their name. Connection is not just about securing a friend or partner. It is about securing a community: whose names do I know? How can I get to know the people I see frequently on a more interpersonal level? This is the foundation of community care. It is about building a bridge of empathy and compassion with people with whom we do not have an intimate relationship.
Within a family or close community, it is important to acknowledge that no one deserves to be treated badly or taken advantage of because someone else has not been able to resolve their trauma. Community does not just mean allowing people into your life without boundaries.
For more on owning your struggles and the healing power of community, listen to my podcast with Minaa (episode #513) and check out her amazing book. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
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2:20 We are not powerless in the face of our trauma & past
3:30 Why we need to own our struggles
10:00 The power of choice
13:25 The healing power of community
20:00 Minaa’s story & how she owned her struggles
38:20 Meeting people where they are & setting boundaries
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