SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

Month: February 2016

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

 

Happy Things Thursday

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  1. Receiving great customer service
  2. Unexpectedly having your driveway snow-blown by a neighbor
  3. Being in the mood to clean/organize your house
  4. Mid-afternoon stop to your favorite coffee shop
  5. Being open to and ready for change
  6. Laughing until your cheeks hurt
  7. Dipping your feet in the ocean and squeezing the sand in-between your toes
  8. Watching the colors of the trees changing during the fall
  9. Spending time with co-workers outside of the office
  10. Clean sheets on the bed

Hoping to make a difference here in ND!

http://www.inforum.com/news/3941954-new-anti-trafficking-efforts-nd-will-include-f-m-host-homes-victims\

 

The Power of Vulnerability

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It’s true….The word ‘vulnerable’ is viewed pretty negatively. It makes sense that the word is viewed negatively because to be vulnerable means that we are in a state of weakness, being more susceptible to physical or emotional harm. It reminds us that we have insecurities and cannot cope with everything that comes our way. And who wants to ever be in a state of weakness? Who would want to have insecurities?

In this society, there is so much importance placed upon being strong, independent, and smart. People strive to appear confident and unbreakable. It is a part of our society that has been engraved into our brains, especially for males. But, being strong and confident all the time is exhausting, is it not? Wouldn’t it be nice to put down the facade from time to time and admit that we just cannot handle it anymore?
Well what if I told you that embracing your weaknesses will make you a more confident individual? Would you believe me?

I want you to know that is it okay to be vulnerable…There is no greater strength as a human than to be open to vulnerability.

Personally, I have difficulty admitting to being wrong and apologizing. I feel extremely vulnerable when I know I am wrong because I know I need to own up to those mistakes and voice my apology where an apology is due. I know I cannot escape my mistake until I own up to it and make it right. I dread it, and frankly, I am bad at it. However, there is a huge feeling of relief and a huge feeling of empowerment when I own up to vulnerabilities such as these. There is something about breaking down your walls, being vulnerable, telling the truth, and admitting your weaknesses that feels so good. And do you want to know why?
Because we are human. Humans are supposed to have moments of weakness, humans are supposed to have faults. How do we learn if we do not let ourselves be vulnerable? It is in times of weakness that we learn our strengths, we learn what we are made of, and we learn how we are going to come out on top. That is immense strength. To be vulnerable is the ability to put our egos aside and know that doing so is okay. It is a part of healing wounds, it is a part of working on those vulnerabilities to make them our strengths. Having failures, feeling uncertain, and being accountable are all a normal part of life. So, since we have to deal with those things, why not embrace them and make it easier on ourselves?

When was a time where you felt your weakest? How did you overcome that, and what did you learn?
In the moment , feeling weak or hopeless is not ideal and not something we want to face. But afterwards, it can feel really great if we open ourselves up to accepting our weaknesses and work on them. Self-awareness plays a huge role here, and being open to looking at each vulnerability as something we need to learn from. Why is this something that makes me feel vulnerable? What about my past makes this situation so difficult to overcome? Why is this insecurity of mine coming to the surface? And how can I make the most of this situation?
Another important piece of self-awareness is to set healthy boundaries with others. You do not want people to take advantage of your vulnerabilities, so to be aware of them is to protect yourself as well.

I challenge you to start verbalizing how you feel in each moment and be open to revealing your flaws to others. This step is truly exhilarating.
Vulnerabilities are purposefully put into our lives because we are meant to put down our walls and overcome barriers. Ask yourself how you can make your vulnerabilities your biggest strengths.

We all have fears of sharing too much and not being accepted by others. We neglect ourselves of truly connecting with people when we are always focused on being desirable rather than being who we are. It takes courage to accept the parts of ourselves we are ashamed of. Embrace and celebrate your shortcomings, and be open to other people’s as well. Ironically enough, you will find that embracing your flaws will make you a more confident individual.

Moving on, I want you to know that vulnerability helps us to be more humble. One huge gift that vulnerability provides us with is to ask for and accept help from others. Being able to accept help and genuinely thank someone can be as difficult as saying I’m sorry. But we must have a healthy balance between giving and receiving. We feel strong when we are the giver, the ‘one who knows’. We love to give, which is a great thing! But, it takes a healthy dose of humility to accept help and admit that we do not know everything. It is overwhelming and stressful to always be the giver. Graciously accept help. To ask for help is to look at a situation squarely and know that you cannot do it all. Humans are not made to be perfect. Needing help is being real with yourself, it is being smart and realistic.

Tidbits to review today:
1. Focus on self-awareness in moments of weakness. Be aware of your vulnerabilities so you can set boundaries with others.
2.  Connect with people on a deeper level, do not focus on being desirable but instead on being YOU.
3. Celebrate and embrace your insecurities. They make you who you are, and by being more self-aware you can improve on those insecurities.
4. Failure and mistakes are normal. They make us human and help us learn.
5. Be open to revealing your flaws to others and verbalize how you feel, and know that it is okay to be uncertain sometimes.
6. To ask for help is humbling. It is smart and realistic to know that we cannot do it all. Asking for help and being the receiver is healthy. Accept help and provide thanks to the giver.

I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. To be human is to be in vulnerability. –  Brene’ Brown

 

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