SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace.Find happiness.Find yourself

Human Trafficking Education for Youth

You might assume…

That you don’t matter much to this world. But someone wears that favorite sweater you gave to them.
Someone hears a song that reminds them of you, or quotes something you said. Someone watched the Netflix documentary you recommended.
Someone laughs when they remember the joke you told them.
Someone feels loved because of your encouraging words.
Someone gained a new hobby you taught them.
Someone came to you for advice.
Someone tried the recipe you recommended.
Even in the seemingly smallest moments, you have an impact that cannot be removed or forgotten. Within each moment of positivity you share, remember that you make a difference in this world.

-keep shining

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Keep On Keepin’ On

Quit ruminating. Quit dwelling. Quit over analyzing.
Stop wasting your time thinking about comments other people make.
Stop seeking out and valuing the opinions of others over your own.
And please, do not allow negativity to keep you from pursuing the path to being who you are.
It all sounds pretty easy when I say it like that, and wouldn’t it be great if it was? This is no simple task. We are groomed to fit into the bullsh*t box of society. We feel pressure to consider what everyone else says and thinks about us and our actions. We take others’ comments and criticism more seriously than we take our own guiding thoughts and intuition. We confuse our own judgement, self awareness, and dreams because we enmesh them with the world’s opinion and expectation of us.
Before giving into it, ask yourself a series of questions relating to the comments and opinions of others…
Is it helpful? Is it productive? Is it loving? Does it feel good?
AND
Does it cause self doubt? Second-guessing? Is it hateful? Does it trigger me?

The answers to these questions are very telling and insightful. Asking these questions reminds us that people can give unsolicited advice at anytime, oh and do they ever! These things make us feel bad. But WHY do we need to feel bad? Is their comment helpful and productive? Loving? Does it feel good? If not, let it go
Drop it.
Throw it away.
Leave it behind.
Laugh it off.
Stomp on it.
Burn it.
Forget about it…
What good does someone else’s comments do in our brain, anyways? Why do we waste all of our time and energy on everyone else and put ourselves in the backseat? This is crap. We literally over analyze everything about ourselves because of the negativity in this world. We are addicted to approval and feedback. We care SO MUCH about the outside that we put all of our energy there. But what about the power and brilliance that resides within us? We care more about acceptance from others than we do about acceptance of ourselves.
Letting go does not mean to think about our kick ass comeback. Letting go does not mean to ‘show them’. It’s not about revenge or karma. It’s to totally and completely drop it; to not care. These other ways of moving on are a cop out because it’s easier to be spiteful as sometimes that feels good. Be better than spitefulness, because you are better than the negative state of mind. We get addicted to negativity, gossip, and judgement. We feed into this so intensely that we use it as a distraction and forget who we are. You do not deserve to be sucked into the negative comments and unsolicited advice because this is a waste of life. There is nothing to gain by responding to this negativity. Being able to move forward and not give it attention will leave your energy feeling light and happy. Plus, be proud of yourself for not stooping to that level, as this is where growth happens. It takes strength and humility to push back on the negativity. It teaches us about developing our own confidence and self worth, knowing we are above the rules and judgement of others. We can listen to our own guidance and be happy with what it provides to us. Be your own best friend and trust yourself. Change your narrative. It hurts to take it all in and it’s exhausting to let it ruminate, so leave what’s hurtful, mean, negative, and regressive behind, and show others how it’s done too.
Protect your heart because it deserves to be protected. People are vicious because it’s cheap and easy. That is why we need to take responsibility to leave the negativity, the harsh comments, and the temptation to fire back alone. It does nothing for us but keeps us in it. Life begins when we let go and find the confidence within ourselves to own who we are without the need for a rebuttal or rumination. What I want for you is to say how you feel, to make a decision, to post the selfie, to change your mind, to push back whenever you want to. Why? Because it’s your life and, oh yeah, because you can.

Keep on keepin’ on, dear, as you have a lot to offer this world if you allow yourself to dream without boundaries. To let go of the concern for the world and it’s opinion is the most freeing thing you can do for yourself. Be true to you, find peace in your own energy, and do not hang onto what does not serve you. There is no purpose in keeping it close…What has that ever done for you that’s productive and kind? Hurt leaves us lost and confused, but self love provides us with the confidence and strength to let it go. You can appreciate yourself for that, and know that you can do it.

Beauty begins in the moment you decide to be yourself~

-keep shining

Hard is Hard

I do not know a single person who has not been through a hard time in their life. In fact, most everyone I know has had several difficult situations they would qualify as being hard…It’s human, it’s expected, and hard is going to continue entering into our lives. Yet we overlook everyone’s hard because we hear it so often…It’s kind of like when someone asks how you’re doing (“good, you?”, “good.”). It fascinates me that we reach out to people to help us through the hard times, but we do not put ourselves in others’ shoes when they ask for our help. We skate over their hard so we can quickly compare our struggles to theirs, or judge how they’re handling their hard, therefore we do not try to understand their struggle. We judge the level of difficulty they’re “actually” facing, and how we would handle that situation differently without truly thinking about how that must feel for them…This is so unfair.
We cannot judge or assess what someone’s hard is. It is impossible for us to determine what should or should not be difficult, and what we would do in that situation. Or if we would be responding in the same way to their hard as they are. It’s like if I asked you to rate the following life situations from most hard to least hard:
-Filing bankruptcy
-Losing a job
-Getting a divorce
-The death of a loved one
-Telling your family for the first time you identify as LGBTQIA+
-Getting an injury that impacts your long-term health
-Being raised in the foster care system
-Getting evicted
-Finding out you’ve been cheated on
-Trying to lose 100 pounds
I would imagine for most people, it would be impossible to rate this list. And if you are able to rate this list, your list would be different than my list. The point is, we cannot determine who’s hard is more hard, or how our hard compares to their hard.
I see this happen often my field of work where a professional compares how they would handle a situation to the individual we are working with. The way I challenge this is to remind the professional that even if you and I went through the EXACT same situation, we are going to respond, process, and heal differently. Due to our current state of mental health, our environment, past trauma, life experiences, and our support system, we will all behave and respond differently, and that is OKAY. That is NORMAL. Until we are in that person’s brain and have experienced exactly what they’ve experienced throughout life, we cannot comment on how we would handle this or how hard that was.
Sometimes the perception is once someone gets through the hard, they will become a better person and there will be positive that comes from the experience… That at the end of every hard time there is a rainbow for everyone, and that everything will turn out okay. But some people never feel they can escape their hard moments, and for those people life never does seem to get easier or be okay. And for others who seem to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, it’s hard to understand those who can’t. I’ve mentioned before in A Letter To Yourself that we expect people to adopt the pull-yourselves-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality, but what if they don’t have any boots? Then what? Typically, we make a quick judgement of their predicament rather than simply understand and support their hard time. We can just support people and not make assumptions or compare our hard, because we can’t. We all go through sh*t, we all get through it differently, and we all have our own powerful story to tell. That is the beauty. Beauty does not come from the judgement we place on others for their hard times. It comes in the way we can truly put ourselves in their shoes, be compassionate, try to understand, and be present as we would want from them. The beauty comes from the love we give people in those hard times, and the ability to learn and grow through the hard.
I have learned through my job is that it is not helpful to tell someone, “I know exactly what you’re going through”, because you experienced something similar. This statement is untrue, and I hear this all the time. Sure, we can relate to someone, but we cannot understand exactly how they’re doing, how they should react, what they need, and how they feel just because we went through something similar…Since we have all experienced hard, we can still be there for one another simply because we know what it feels like to be having a tough time with life at the moment.
I think this mentality is just as easily adaptable to how we view ourselves during difficult times. Man, ease up! We judge ourselves just as harshly as we judge others…We regret how we handle things, get upset with ourselves when we aren’t as resilient as we would like to be, and try to move past the hard rather than let ourselves accept that we are having a tough time. It’s okay to be struggling, we do not need to be so dang hard on ourselves. Remember that we are all going through it, we cannot predict our lives or always choose the cards we are dealt, but we can surrender to the hard times and accept them for what they are. We are all just doing the best we know how in that moment with where we are in life and what we’ve been given. We can love and accept ourselves, even through the times we struggle to find who we are.
Moral of the story is…my hard is no better or worse or difficult or easy or predictable or frustrating or bigger or simpler or confusing than your hard. We all have hard, and we can lean on each other too if we choose to remove the judgement and help each other through it in a pure and loving way. Life is going to throw curve balls which will include some difficulty. It’s who you are in those hard moments for yourself and others that can define who you want to be.

It’s not just your life, it’s life. Life is bigger than you. Life isn’t something you possess, it’s something you take part in and you witness.

-keep shining

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Guilty Conscious

Why do we insist on allowing guilt to run our lives? We all do it, we all fight it, and yet we all fall victim to the guilt trap. There is nothing that consumes someone’s life quicker than guilt. As humans, we are full of guilt and are taught to feel guilty at a very young age…And guilt is a weight that will crush and control you whether you “deserve” it or not. It is so painful. And why would we want to choose to live with such pain if we do not have to?
We use guilt to get our way, to make decisions, to coerce us into settling into social norms, to punish ourselves, and to assume we are experiencing some negative karma because of choices we make. We put so much effort into allowing guilt to be a piece of us because we feel like we owe it to others or a higher power to feel badly for every inch of our lives. We need to stop looking at situations with the attitude of, “what did I do wrong?”, “how can I fix this?”, or, “I feel so badly for causing this emotional reaction in someone else”…Where in that equation do we take into account our wants, needs, and feelings? We allow guilt to come first, and we ignore our feelings and our ultimate truth. Guilt causes us to hide or ignore pieces of ourselves that shouldn’t be suppressed.
How can we use guilt to our benefit, how can we remove guilt and instead use it to make the most of any situation? For example, whenever I make a decision that I know will affect others, I have to constantly remind myself that their reactions and emotions to my decisions are their reactions and emotions to own. I do not have control over nor am I responsible for how someone feels or reacts. Instead of thinking about what I did wrong or how to avoid hurting or shocking others, I instead think thoughts like, “what am I learning from this?”, “what are they learning from this?’, “this is their journey”, and, “why are they in a position to be learning from me?”…I give my guilt back to the universe or higher power to decide what its purpose is, and I truly believe that. I think about what guilt can do instead to help inspire or provide hope to me in ways I could not have dreamt of if I would have allowed myself to view it solely as something to feel guilty about. I take all the energy that I would have wasted on feeling guilty and instead use it to transform and create more possibilities for myself and those around me. Trust me when I say this is a work-in-progress, I have to work at this every day…I think I can speak on behalf of many of us in the helping profession when I say that we take on other people’s reactions and feelings as our own. We struggle to differentiate our wants and needs from others as we feel guilt for putting ourselves and our truth first. I struggle with this every single day.
Guilt keeps us paralyzed, keeps us in the boxes that society has put us in, and makes us second guess any amount of change that could be good for us. Guilt can either keep you from growing into your own, or it can lead you into making some pretty incredible changes in your life, and the choice is yours…How powerful is that? Guilt can simply be a reminder to just do better next time, and then we move on…Doesn’t that feel freeing? Quit trying to live to everyone else’s standards and expectations, because you will never meet them.

And ladies, we were born guilty. We are taught to feel guilt if we aren’t married with children by age 25 or don’t want children at all, we are taught to feel badly for being too assertive, to feel guilt for turning down the individual at the bar who bought us a drink and then felt entitled to take us home, or feel badly for “ruining” the offenders life who abused us and we pushed back against them. Guilt is something that has been engrained in females to feel in every aspect of their lives.…You do not owe anyone outside of yourself a damn thing. There, I said it!

It is important to note that guilt is a normal, natural emotional response. We have all gained insight and knowledge from feeling guilt. Guilt motivates us to be more responsible, to live in the discomfort of making mistakes, to apologize when necessary, and to make up for a wrongdoing. The problem is that many of us suffer from inappropriate amounts or excessive guilt. We use it too often. We even use it in how we parent/teach children…”it makes me so sad when you do not eat your peas”, thus making children feel badly on behalf of us when they do not do what we wish them to. Why do we do this? Why are we so set on having to motivate others by making them feel badly? This is not how we want to live our lives.

At the end of the day, how can we take the guilt and use it to our benefit? Aside from looking at guilt through this more positive perspective, how can we remove the guilt even further or let go once the problem resolves? I think it is so important to remember that we are all human, we all have moments of poor judgement and mess-ups. And if we didn’t, how boring or stagnant would life be? Mistakes are where we grow and learn what to not repeat again, how to regain ourselves, and how to do and be better. Ask yourself if the guilt you feel is appropriate and what its purpose is. How can you use it to your benefit?…We can also simply just accept the mistake, make the change, and move on. We do not need to punish ourselves. Recognize that you are not perfect, and that is okay.

Guilt: punishing yourself before God doesn’t~

-keep shining

Others blogs about guilt: Free Yourself From Guilt, Color Outside The Lines

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