Guide for First-Generation Latinas: Stepping into Your Power in the New Year

While the first gen experience can be empowering, it can also be very lonely, these are ways to prepare for 2024

First Gen Latina empowered

Photo: Pexels/ RDNE Stock project

As first gen Latinas we are consistently breaking barriers, challenging boundaries, and pushing ourselves just a little bit more each day. We notice our feelings, practice self-care, and bring to the forefront generational cycles with the goal of creating an impact within our lives and the lives of those around us. We do all of these things because we envision a space where we can be free to feel, judgment free and without any reservations. However, we also acknowledge that we do a lot of these things alone. While the first gen experience can be empowering, it can also be very lonely. We constantly live in the unknown. We wonder if we are doing things the right way and we often question ourselves. We lack the ability to ask for help because we have been conditioned to figure things out by ourselves. This can create many emotions within us…uncomfortable emotions like sadness, guilt, stress, tension, anxiety, fear, shame, and confusion, among others.

Stepping into the New Year can feel like an exciting time because it’s the ability to reset and check in on our goals for this new year. The turn of the calendar, as silly as it may sound, really creates an opportunity for many of us. The memories attached to a new year can help us shift our mindset while reframing things that we have been struggling with for some time. Imposter syndrome might continue to creep in as we find ourselves in an uncomfortable space with no guidance and few people that can relate to our experiences. 

Through this guide, my hope is that you can notice the challenges you experience but also, notice your power. Use this space as a place for reflection…as a place where you are seen, heard, and validated.

Confronting the Imposter Syndrome:

First-gen Latinas often find ourselves in spaces where we are underrepresented, leading to feelings of not belonging or internalizing negative stereotypes. We may begin to question our abilities and feel like we are only in this position due to external factors, rather than our own skills and abilities.

What can help: 

Embrace your accomplishments! Remember, you deserve to be where you are. Write down your achievements in a journal, both big and small, and revisit them when self-doubt creeps in. Talk to friends or like minded people about how you feel to help normalize your experience. Challenge yourself by talking to yourself in the mirror, as difficult as that might initially feel. State positive affirmations out loud and try to stay as present as possible. Above all, be patient with yourself throughout this time. 

Owning your Unique Path:

Being the first in your family to pursue higher education or a specific career is an achievement to be proud of. It’s understanding if it comes with aspects of negative self-talk or questions about your capabilities. It can make sense when you are unsure of where to go or what to do when you haven’t had that role model to pave the way before you. Due to this, it’s important to own your journey and acknowledge the strength it took to get to where you are. It hasn’t been easy! You’re not just creating a path for yourself but also for generations to come. 

What can help: 

While this can feel like a lot of responsibility, allow yourself to be proud of where you are today and all the strength and courage it took to get to this place in your life and career. Embrace all aspects of yourself that create your own unique journey. Make time to engage in mindfulness, which is the ability to notice all aspects of yourself, judgment free. Practicing a daily check-in with yourself can help ease tension or stress while also helping you shift the perspective. 

Challenging Generational Cycles:

Recognize that stepping into your power involves breaking free from limiting beliefs, ingrained patterns, or attitudes that have been passed down through generations.  It involves recognizing and questioning limitations that have lived within the family for  generations, societal expectations, and cultural norms that may delay personal growth. 

What can help: 

As first gen Latinas who are challenging these generational cycles, we can empower ourselves to redefine success and happiness based on our unique values and aspirations. It’s about acknowledging the freedom to shape and redefine our own destiny independently of what others might believe while fostering a sense of autonomy and self-determination. A fun thing that could be helpful is creating a vision board. A vision board is a way to pay attention to all the things you want and bring them to life on a board. You can add all the things you want – both tangible and intangible. This can help you keep a clear view of how you want your future life to look. 

There are many things that can come up for you during the new year based on your life and unique experiences. Due to this, I want to share a few coping skills that could be helpful no matter what situation you are in. Above all, remember to celebrate your ability to redefine success and happiness on your OWN terms.

  1. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself as you find yourself in unfamiliar spaces. It’s okay to not have all the answers as it is all part of personal growth. Treat yourself in the same way as you would treat others. You deserve it. 
  2. Reach out to your tribe: Build a network of supportive people who understand your journey. Connecting with those who share similar experiences can provide valuable insights and emotional support. It can truly feel like someone has “got you” when things get challenging. 
  3. Remember your Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries in personal and professional relationships. Clearly communicate your needs and expectations, you will feel like your needs are consistently being met. 
  4. Seek professional help: connecting with a mental health professional that can relate to you can help you gain perspective. You will feel supported and empowered as you step into the new year with a plan of action. You can find supportive therapists of color on sites like or 

Stepping into your power as a first-generation Latina is definitely a  journey, but a beautiful one. It is filled with a lot of resilience, strength, and self-discovery. Embrace the challenges, celebrate your achievements, and remember that you are not alone in this journey. The new year is an opportunity to redefine success, break free from limiting beliefs, and pave the way for a future that reflects your unique aspirations and values. 

Here’s to a year of empowerment, growth, and embracing your authentic self!

Patricia Alvarado is a psychotherapist and owner and director of the group practice, Alvarado Therapy & co-founder of Latinx Healthy Minds providing mental health programs for Latinx professionals

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