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Roma Williams of Beauty Healing: “Attempt some human contact”

Attempt some human contact. I wanted to say “put down your phone,” but there is a wealth of online groups and communities that we can connect with through the power of technology, and right now, that is the safest way to connect. However, it should not replace critical human contacts and connections. So go local […]

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Attempt some human contact. I wanted to say “put down your phone,” but there is a wealth of online groups and communities that we can connect with through the power of technology, and right now, that is the safest way to connect. However, it should not replace critical human contacts and connections. So go local and a find group or organization you can join in your neighborhood. Volunteer, helping others is a great way to see the beauty in your own life. Find a group of people that are interested in the things you like. There is a world of possibilities. Now that the world is digital due to the pandemic, you can still create and maintain a community sense.


As a part of my interview series about the ‘5 Things We Can Each Do Help Solve The Loneliness Epidemic’, I had the pleasure to interview Roma Williams, MA, LMFT a Marriage & Family Therapist and DRK Beauty Healing Resident Therapist. A digital content and community platform, founded by Wilma Mae Basta and Danielle Jackson, that provides a space to celebrate women of color in all their diversity aims to empower and support women of color by producing curated content that resonates with often-neglected communities as well as provide mental health resources through their initiative, DRK Beauty Healing. This nationwide initiative provides 10,000 free hours of therapy to those who identify as women of color and have been affected by COVID-19.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us? What was it that led you to your eventual career choice?

Sure! It was in high school that I realized I wanted to be a therapist. I ended up doing an essay on children’s long-term effects from divorced families vs. children from intact families. The research followed the subjects over the span of their lives for maybe 20–30 years, and I can remember being so engulfed in that project. I had never known a therapist, so that instinct was my gift. And being a child of divorced parents, I wanted to understand things more and even understand my parents. I even wanted to understand my grandparents more, who remained married all of my life. I found human relationships to be very interesting, even back then.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

OH, that’s a hard one. I used to counsel teens at their homes for God’s sake! But the thing that stands out most to me is being comfortable running a trauma group very early on. The senior clinicians were like, um she can’t do this, but the clients decided I could, and I was surprisingly comfortable to be there and hold space for those women to tell their stories.

Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?

Well, I’m sure I did and probably still make humorous mistakes. I know I used to say anything very early on to help with nervousness and the insecurity of “what the hell am I doing.” I can remember sitting with a teen and her parent at their home and just firing off questions, and the mom was looking over at me and saying, “can you slow the hell down! You can’t even hear what she is saying!” I can look back and laugh now; I was mortified at the time. I learned in that instant, however, that you can’t rush the process, just like life, things will be revealed and evolve in their own time. You have to pay attention to know when it is happening. It was an invaluable lesson,

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am always working towards something; my best friend tells me that I am a lifelong student. I am currently working to become certified in emotionally focused therapy and expand my private practice. I will also be launching a coaching program dedicated to women looking for “Mr. Right”.

Can you share with our readers a bit why you are an authority about the topic of the Loneliness Epidemic?

I feel that I am an authority on this topic because I have first-hand experience with it. In addition to that, it is something that I have become interested in understanding. As someone in the ‘millennial’ age bracket, I have had tons of friends, associates, and colleagues who have experienced such feelings. I moved across the country to go to college, and have not moved back home since. At times, things were very lonely for me, being away from my immediate support system, which many college students and young people who leave home will face. Once a person strikes out into adulthood, it can be traumatizing with all that one has to learn and manage. Then add being away from family, friends, and what is familiar to them, which can be difficult for someone to manage all of the feelings that can come with that. My peers and I found ourselves coming out of school at the time of the economic housing crisis, and a lot of them did not have a home to go back to as their parents were now struggling. However, you can be living with your family and be around friends and still feel lonely. I’ve seen a lot of this first hand, and I feel honored to be able to share my views.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. According to this story in Forbes, loneliness is becoming an increasing health threat not just in the US, but across the world. Can you articulate for our readers 3 reasons why being lonely and isolated can harm one’s health?

Absolutely. The first reason is that feeling lonely and isolated can affect one’s mental health. Depression symptoms and suicide rates increase in those who feel alone and isolated from the rest of the world. Another reason is that it can harm one’s physical health. Weight gain and vitamin deficiencies can occur from us not going out and getting sunlight and fresh air, which can happen when we tend to stay indoors and away from others. Right along with mental health concerns are the emotional ramifications that come from not feeling connected. It is our birthright and a basic human need to feel connected to something or someone beyond ourselves. When that does not happen, one may have a lower regard for their lives and the lives of others. For instance, that troubled teen or young adult you may see on your local news program who just committed a crime. Many people see a criminal, but I tend to see someone who may not have secure attachments or connections.

On a broader societal level, in which way is loneliness harming our communities and society?

I believe that loneliness is harming our communities in society in a way that most people don’t quite understand. In attachment theory, we look at a person’s relationships and bonds from as early as infancy. The research on attachment theory shows that when that child cannot make those secure attachments with caregivers, they tend to grow up and have a much harder time forming relationships and friendship because they may not know how to trust or have a healthy relationship. Having those stressful and strained relationships, that person will tend to have a higher propensity to be diagnosed or have symptoms remnant of anxiety and depression, including the feeling of loneliness or isolation. As a result, this can cause crime and drug and alcohol use to increase in communities where those insecure attachments tend to be more present. It is a cycle that has and can repeat itself across generations

The irony of having a loneliness epidemic is glaring. We are living in a time where more people are connected to each other than ever before in history. Our technology has the power to connect billions of people in one network, in a way that was never possible. Yet despite this, so many people are lonely. Why is this? Can you share 3 of the main reasons why we are facing a loneliness epidemic today? Please give a story or an example for each.

  1. I think the first reason will be social media. Yes, we have these free platforms that can link billions of people all over the world. However, on social media, we see many people and stories that are seemingly negative on social media. Although there are so many positive things and accounts that are present on social media (like a good D Nice Quarantine set, or a Verzuz battle), the negativity is what tends to get blown up, and social media can be a constant reminder of what we do not have or are lacking which can cause us to feel further lonely and isolated.

2. Insecure Attachments: If someone grew up not trusting or knowing that our caregivers can and will be there for us, it could be not easy to trust anyone. So, when we do not have the skillset to form and maintain healthy relationships (which include setting boundaries, emotional regulation, and the ability to be vulnerable), lasting and sustaining connections becomes almost impossible. One day that person will look around and say ‘I”m alone’ or feel disconnected because their experiences opening up to others may not have been good. Even if someone grew up with caregivers who were there for them when you find yourself in an environment where you don’t feel supported, that could trigger bouts of loneliness; however, for the sake of this article, I am referring to those people who have that constant feeling of loneliness that can trigger painful thoughts and emotions such as major depression and suicide.

3. Self-worth/self-esteem: Self-esteem takes a long time to build up and maintain but can be shattered in an instant. If a teen grows up feeling that they are not worthy, or that everything is wrong with them (which most teens will touch) and get that confirmed over time, that self-esteem will be lower. “If I don’t think much of myself, others probably won’t either, so why try?” can be one’s line of thinking. Of course, there are exceptions to the rules with everything, but self-esteem is one thing that the best of us struggle with.

Ok. it is not enough to talk about problems without offering possible solutions. In your experience, what are the 5 things each of us can do to help solve the Loneliness Epidemic? Please give a story or an example for each.

Attempt some human contact. I wanted to say “put down your phone,” but there is a wealth of online groups and communities that we can connect with through the power of technology, and right now, that is the safest way to connect. However, it should not replace critical human contacts and connections. So go local and a find group or organization you can join in your neighborhood. Volunteer, helping others is a great way to see the beauty in your own life. Find a group of people that are interested in the things you like. There is a world of possibilities. Now that the world is digital due to the pandemic, you can still create and maintain a community sense.

Cater your social media to what you need, especially if you feel those feelings of inadequacy. I know that I have had times where I’ve even had to unplug from social media or unfollow pages that are inundated with content that did nothing for me. Replace that activity with something like a walk in your neighborhood or explore an area of time you may not be familiar with. or check-in with a friend or family member.

Connect inward. I love to do things like guided meditations where the practitioner has us to say these positive mantras and affirmations. I like apps like insight timer, where you can do live events with some of your favorite practitioners. Sometimes it is the internal message that we send ourselves that makes us feel lonely and no one in the world understands us. Do some work to change that around for yourself, reflect on the positives in life, and motivate yourself to feel better. Keep in mind that optimistic people weren’t just born that way; many of them had to do much internal, disciplined work to get there.

Self soothe! Find the things that bring you comfort like A tv show from your childhood, a song that reminds you of family or a good time in your life, even a favorite meal. These things are ok to do, especially for those low moments where you may feel lonely and need reminders of when things were a bit lighter.

Reach out to a mental health professional to help you to identify some areas that may be blindsight to you. Especially if it is too hard for you to see the positives or do that work alone, it is always good to have someone you can talk to about that.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would like to encourage an environment where everyone will have the opportunity to be validated. I recently learned how powerful that tool of validation is, and it is a gift that we all can experience. I believe that if more of us were to experience validation as opposed to shame, guilt, and disagreement, things in this world could shift for the better. I just picture these validation stands set up all over the world, ha!

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Oh wow, well, I would have said, Kobe Bryant. That man has inspired me a great deal since I was eight years old. However, I would have to pick two, and that would be Erykah Badu and Janet Jackson. Erykah, I feel, has maintained her truth even in an industry that does not support that truth, and has great success doing so. Janet Jackson has always been a hero of mine. I admire the tenacity she showed to get to a point where she started living in who she was instead of someone’s sister or daughter. This truth, both women have remained steadfast in and carved their lane, and I would love to hear something from them about it, plus they are two of my favorite entertainers. And While I’m at it, how about I throw in Lil Kim, because, I mean, that’s Kim!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@romadoestherapy and @thisisdrkbeauty on Instagram

Thank you so much for these insights. This was so inspiring, and so important!

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