SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

Category: Relationships (page 1 of 2)

A Letter To Yourself

Dear Self,
I am sorry. I am sorry for being so hard on you. I am sorry for not accepting you just the way you are. For not loving you the way you deserve to be loved. For not taking care of your needs, and putting others first. I am sorry for letting opinions outside of your own dictate your life and your future. I am sorry for suggesting you be sad all by yourself rather than sharing that sadness with the world. I am sorry that I make you fear judgment from others instead of letting yourself shine. I am sorry that I don’t encourage you to be true to yourself but rather make you worry about people not understanding you. I am sorry that I do not give you the time you need to heal. That I expect you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps when you do not have any boots. I am sorry for not allowing you to cry on my shoulder and not allowing you to be vulnerable. I am sorry that sometimes I do not trust your judgment, even though deep down I know you’re right. I am sorry for expecting you to be perfect and allowing the portrayal of perfection in our society to ruminate in your mind. I am sorry that I do not remind you of how brave, resilient, and pretty you are. I am sorry that I make you feel as though you cannot make mistakes or take any risks. I am sorry for not allowing you to be honest with yourself in difficult moments. You do not deserve any of this, and you need to know that I see you trying. And because of that, you deserve happiness. You deserve happiness because of who you are…Because you are incredible, you are extraordinary. You deserve happiness because life should be more than pretending to be perfect. You deserve happiness because your flaws are beautiful. But most importantly, you deserve happiness just because. And I am so sorry that I have made you feel as though you are not worthy of this.

-keep shining
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Connection vs. Attachment

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Throughout our lifetimes we have numerous relationships that come and go. With each relationship we encounter, we development ourselves further. We learn more about who we are through others. We discover what it is we want in a friend and in a life partner through connection and attachment, and we further develop our own values and morals based on our interactions with those we surround ourselves with.
It’s no secret that relationships are both tough and life changing. They offer so much to us; relationships are the basis of human life. We are completely motivated by our desire for human interaction. Everything we think revolves around the impact it’ll have on our relationships. It’s the interactions with those around us that create a feeling of wholeness; our desire for human connection makes up the entirety of our lives.

As I previously stated, relationships come and go. It’s the ‘go’ part that gets tough, but it’s also the ‘go’ that creates resiliency within ourselves. It changes us, makes us stronger, and gets us one step closer to solidifying what kinds of relationships we want to surround ourselves with. The ‘go’ is typically the break up, or the decision to end a friendship. These are the rough patches that cause pain, and take a lot of time to heal and move on from. It’s not easy. It’s hard to let go of people we feel attached to, partly because we devote a lot of our time to the attachments we have with people. But to be attached isn’t necessarily what we want in a relationship…

Connection gives you power, attachment sucks the life out of you.

Let me further explain….

I was recently educating high school students on healthy relationships. We were discussing what makes a relationship unhealthy, and one student mentioned being “attached at the hip”.  This made me think about the meaning behind the phrase “attached at the hip” and where it came from.  After giving it some thought, it dawned on me that there is a huge difference between connection and attachment, but often times we combine them to be one in the same.

We all witness or personally experience those relationships that just go through the motions, or settling, as some would say. It’s being too comfortable, being too content and not knowing how to leave because you’ve formed an attachment to their presence… Like we do not know how to move on because we have developed an attachment to having that person around, and we fear what people will think if we stray from the ‘norm’ or what they were expecting from us.  This is attachment.  We attach to people and do not know how to function without them, regardless of whether or not it is healthy or what we really want.
To attach means to join together or fasten to something. For example, we attach to our phones because we have developed a habit; a feeling of not being able to get by each day without it in our presence and constantly in reach. A habit of just having it around and knowing it will be there. We always know where our phones are at any minute….Now how unhealthy does that sound when we say that about relationships?

What we really mean to be seeking when we form an attachment to someone is a connection. Connection is unconditional love. It’s an unexplainable bond to someone, sometimes unexpected. Ever hear or use the phrase, ‘we just clicked’ or, ‘we just connected’?
It’s an understanding of someone that supersedes the other relationships in our lives. Sometimes it is the feeling of knowing someone despite not spending a lot of time with them. It can be finishing each others sentences, or being able to feel what the other person feels; being able to read the other person. It is a feeling of knowing….You just get each other, and sometimes it’s hard to put that into words. It’s sharing our true selves, our deepest secrets, without fear of the other person judging. It’s feeling complete, understood, and allowing each other to make mistakes. It’s being away from each other and having trust that your connection is strong enough to endure turmoil, and confident enough to overcome differences. Finding connection is powerful; it gives us confidence.
Connection is having common interests.
Our minds are wired to connect to people, we need it…We crave it. There is nothing more satisfying than finding connections with people and exploring them. To expand ourselves by interacting with others on a deeper, more meaningful and whole level. We are happy when we are connected.

Take some time to dissect your relationships. Be honest with yourself; there is nothing to fear. Ask yourself the tough questions. Yes, we will have superficial relationships in our lives, most relationships we have  are superficial…or ‘surface-level’. Sometimes we just attach to people based on outer circumstances. But you have choice in the matter, you have the ability to come and go in people’s lives. You decide why you want to move on or stick around. You choose what it is you’re seeking in your relationships, and what you ultimately want for your life. Go after it.

~Maybe it’s not about the length of time you’ve known someone, maybe it’s about instant recognition on an unconscious level…Connection doesn’t care what society tells us, your Soul will be pulled to the place it belongs.

-keep shining

Love To Last A Lifetime….

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We learn a lot through relationships and dating, whether about ourselves or what we look for in a partner. I have accumulated different ‘rules’, if you will, to hold true to with love and relationships that I have found super helpful over the years.
Take a peak at these tips, considerations, and things to keep in mind!

Do not hold back. Communicate- even when uneasy or tough. The best way to heal and understand is to get it all out there. To get it off your chest and get the closure you want/need. Don’t torture yourself with the ‘what if’s’ and the unknowns. Be bold, ask questions, and be honest with your feelings. 

Don’t pretend the person you’re with is what you really want. Sometimes we settle, sometimes we allow the current relationship to continue even when we know it’s not all that we are looking for. This is a mistake that may last you a lifetime. Be honest with yourself if something is missing in your relationship and decide if it’s worth sticking around for, or worth exploring other options. You deserve a lifetime of happiness, and hurting someone in the process is tough. But sometimes that is the only option we have to ensure we are doing what is best for ourselves. Being selfish is hard, but when it includes our long term happiness we have to think selfishly sometimes. 

You can’t convince people to love you. No one will love you bc you want them to; it has to move freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.
Just because someone is head over heals in love with you does not mean they are ready. They can love you in ways that you’ve never felt love, but that does not mean they are ready to be with you. You cannot stick around for this. Whatever their reason, do not ever feel the need to motivate someone to meet you where you’re at. You should never have to convince someone to be ready and work towards love. There is someone else for you that is ready, and the love you find with them will be even more extraordinary than the last. 

You can miss someone but still understand that you deserve better. I LOVE this statement, and wish my 19-year-old-self would have known this. You can differentiate between missing someone and wanting to be with someone; there is a difference and we can continue to move forward each day even when we miss someone. Do not let your brain consume you with thoughts of being with someone that does not deserve you. It’s normal to miss people who come and go into our lives, but there is a reason they are no longer present. Remember the good times, but keep on movin’.

Stop rushing. Not only are you looking for a life partner, but also finding a best friend. Take time to really get to know someone and do not focus on the title of a relationship all the time.
Also, the saying ‘you find someone when you least expect it‘ is so true! When we change our focus onto ourselves; our confidence, our own self worth, our identity…that is when relationships happen and that special someone finds us. You need to find yourself before rushing into finding another person to make you happy. Get to know yourself before trying to get to know someone else. S-L-O-W  D-O-W-N.

Quit name calling and say sorry when you need to. Fights will be had, frustrations arise, disagreements happen. All of that is normal in relationships. But nothing good comes from name calling, swearing, or yelling. This only escalates the situation, and honestly it’s just disrespectful. Take a step back if you feel things getting too escalated. Otherwise all we are doing is hurting one another and not solving any of our problems. And if we do get to this point, take ownership and apologize. Meaningful apologies go a long ways, and it helps us learn humility in the process.

Stop trying to change people. What is it about your partner that you are trying to change? Is it a significant issue that will continue to affect your relationship? Or is it something you can overlook? News flash: We cannot change people. Do not waste your energy fighting this.
People naturally change within their relationships based on what they learn from their partner and how they grow together. However, there are certain parts of who we are that are unchangeable. Find out if it’s worth sticking around for or if the issue is too big for you to overlook. Sometimes we try to change people and it may work for a certain amount of time, but typically they go back to who they are. Quit fighting over it, stop trying to make someone something they are not, and decide if this relationship is worth your effort. 

Quit putting their needs before your own. It’s a team effort. Quit bending over backwards to make things work. Are you putting in the same amount of effort as your partner, or are you a one man team? Are they texting/calling you and initiating dates? Are they making time in their life for you? It’s exhausting to put forth all the effort, and it isn’t fair. Find someone who wants to be a team with you.
Finding a partner is all about team work. Even if you are fighting with your partner the goal is the same, which is to choose each other. So even during rough times or arguments, remember that you’re on the same team and fighting for the same thing; to be together. 

Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. ~

-keep shining

Relationships with a Capital R

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There are very few things in life that are more important than relationships. That is because relationships are the basis of our lives. They help define who we are, make us whole, and are the most crucial way in which we function as a society. Relationships are how we learn about ourselves and those around us. Without them, we are missing out on a major part of our ongoing development. And, honestly, relationships just make us happy. They reassure us of who we are and motivate us to become better people.

Below are some ‘Relationship Rules’, as I like to call them, that I want to share with you.

<3 Loyalty and Respect are not updates to a relationship, they are a requirement to a relationship
 YES! Write this one down, people!
As I am sure most of us do, I often get frustrated with myself when I recall the unfortunate things I put up with in my former relationships- whether boyfriends, friends, coworkers, etc.. However, if it weren’t for those unhealthy happenings in my relationships I would have never learned to speak up for myself the way I do now. I would not nearly be as confident in or as happy with the person I am today if it weren’t for a lot of what I experienced in my former relationships. We can all look back and find things we learned from those who we allowed to treat us poorly, no matter how unfortunate or icky those memories may be. But, that is why Loyalty and Respect are a must in every relationship you encounter and find value in. These two traits are invaluable and will get you very far in life.  I cannot express enough on the importance of Loyalty and Respect. If you have these two things in your relationships, you are on a happy and healthy track. And if we are loyal and respectful, others will gravitate towards us and be much more likely to display the same in return.

<3 Far too many people are looking for the right person instead of being the right person
 On our wedding day, my husband and I had a reading in our ceremony that we fell in love with. The last line of it states, “it is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner”. I will never forget that line. It is a good reminder to let our guards down in order to love those around us, and look in the mirror rather than point fingers. We all want so badly to be understood, but we forget to be understandingBeing the right person helps to hold ourselves accountable in our relationships. We can only expect from our partner what we are providing in return. It is equal give and take that makes the world go ’round!

<3 Tell people how you feel
Feelings are gooooooood! And men, even better when you can express your feelings confidently (aka- it is okay to cry!). We are all entitled to our own feelings, express them! It feels so good to not build everything up inside. Your feelings matter and may make a huge difference in your or someone else’s life if you learn to express them. It is so good to practice being honest with ourselves and others. We feel a certain way for a reason, own it. Be open to exploring why you feel a certain way to help learn more about yourself. The more we understand our reactions, triggers, and emotions, the happier and more knowledgable we become, and the more relief we feel by expressing ourselves. It also helps to understand the emotions and reactions of others around us.  Not to mention we will be more satisfied and comfortable in our relationships.

<3 Be prepared for disappointment
My mother always told me that everyone in my life will disappoint me at some time or another, and I have remembered this throughout the years. It helps to prepare me for the moments when people do disappoint me in my life. No matter how close we think we are in some relationships, people will always hurt and disappoint us. And there will be times where we will hurt and disappoint others, too. No one is perfect and people make mistakes. The mistakes that are made is what can be hurtful at times, and it is up to us to decide whether the disappointment is worth mending in that relationship, or moving on with our lives. Some friendships are in our lives for a short time and are not meant to last forever, and that is okay. However, it is also up to us to forgive those who have disappointed us to help us practice humility and acceptance of others.
The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.  Bob Marley

<3 What people think of you is none of your business
Oh how accurate this is! Nothing is more stressful, hurtful, or frustrating than hearing the negative things people have said about us. But honestly, what is the point of caring? You know who you are, that is what matters. Any why put ourselves through the hurt of having to know what people have said about us? Other people’s opinions and statements are not our business, even if they are about us. People are all entitled to their thoughts and opinions. And you know what? There is nothing we can do about that. Let’s all try to focus more on the areas of life we can control rather than worrying about others’ thoughts and opinions, which we will never be able to manipulate.

<3 You don’t need 2 million friends
It seems to me that the older people get, the more they value having just a few really close friends. Having a ton of friends is exhausting, and it takes a lot of time! Personally, I enjoy having a small friend circle as I can better focus on the relationships that mean the most to me. I can spend more time with those who are equally invested in my friendship as I am in theirs. These are the people that are less apt to hurt us and more able to be trusted. I find so much more value in my friendships as my circle gets smaller, and I am so grateful for that.

And when it comes to relationships, actions speak louder than words, people!

-keep shining

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Tips to Communicating Effectively

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This week, I want to provide four quick and easy skills for interacting with others. These four simple skills will make a world of difference in the conversations and arguments you will have, and I am excited to share them with you!
There are times in our interactions with others where we get upset, defensive, argumentative, and frustrated. Unfortunately, it’s going to happen to the best of us. However, there are ways to better interact and be aware of how we are communicating to help keep the conversation at a civil, calm level of discussion and reasoning. It’s inevitable that we are going to argue with our family, our spouse, our best friend, our boss….But how can we do it in a way where we will be heard, and more able to hear what others are saying to us? I know for myself I find it difficult to be willing to listen when I am in a defensive state of mind. All I am thinking about is what I want to say next rather than trying to listen to what is being said. This is really counterproductive in any type of relationship.
Try these four skills:

  1. Use ‘I feel’ statements. ‘I feel’ statements is a skill used to calmly tell someone what we are thinking in a way that includes our feelings, which in turn helps the other person understand where we are at emotionally, and why we may be reacting a certain way.
    For example, let’s say in a conversation with your significant other they raise their voice before saying, “Ugh, you’re pissing me off and you’re not listening to a word I am saying!”. How would this make you feel? I can feel my blood boiling just thinking about it! How would this not be helpful, and how would you respond? You may say something impulsive and hurtful which leads to more arguing and hurt feelings on both sides. Also, this does not resolve anything.
    Now, how much easier would it be for you to respond if your significant other instead said “I feel hurt and frustrated when you do not appear to be listening to me when you are on your phone.”? A touchy topic can be more calmly discussed and resolved if approached by using “I feel ____ when you _______ ” statements.
    Think of a time you were interacting with someone which turned into an argument, and you felt really defensive. Why were you feeling defensive in that moment? What was said to you that upset you? Also think of a time that you really upset someone else during a conversation which turned into an argument. Why were they upset with you? Could using an ‘I feel’ statement have assisted in the situation?
  2. Do not name call, and do not raise your voice. Sounds easy enough, right? But we all know this is easier said than done sometimes. All I can say here is try really hard to focus on the way we speak to others. So much greatness can be accomplished if we focus on resolving an issue rather than adding fuel to the fire. Some thoughts are better left unsaid, and keeping a calm demeanor is respectful and will be well received. Plus, we really don’t want to hurt the ones we care about which is exactly what we are doing by name calling and getting loud. Remind yourself that you are on the same team as that person, and want the same end goal. You would not be spending time having this conversation or argument if you did not feel value in continuing a relationship with that person.
  3. Do not use statements with the words ‘always’ and ‘never’. Another situation which will cause us to get really defensive really fast. ‘Always’ and ‘never’ should not be used in conversations or arguments because, simply, it is not true.
    It’s okay to get upset at your husband for rarely taking out the trash. But, approaching him with saying “you never take out the trash!” will trigger him to think of all the times he has taken out the trash and think you do not notice. ‘Always’ and ‘never’ are bold words, and hearing them can be really discouraging. Try avoiding ‘always’ and ‘never’, and add in an ‘I feel’ statement to ensure the conversation goes smoothly.
  4. Agree to disagree. At the end of the day, sometimes it is okay to accept that we are not on the same page, and it may stay that way. We all know that people do not always agree on everything, and everyone’s perspectives are different. It is okay to hear each other out and learn from one another while understanding that you are not going to change each other’s minds. To be able to ‘agree to disagree’ is a skill, and is not always easy to do.
    Listening is huge when it comes to ‘agreeing to disagree’. We must listen to and try to understand others’ perspectives even when we disagree. It takes discipline and patience to listen when we do not want to. However, in doing so it helps us to become more open-minded individuals. Being open-minded is helpful in our work and our relationships with people, and helps in our understanding for people and their life choices, beliefs, and circumstances.  And who wouldn’t want to be a more understanding and open-minded individual?!

If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you will work miracles. 
-keep shining

 

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