SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

Month: December 2016

A Letter To My Self Esteem….

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I am going to pick your brains today and ask you to read this statement, and think about whether or not you agree –In a world that profits from our self doubt, loving ourselves is a defiant act.  Once you decide if you agree, think about how unfortunately true this is for us as society, both males and females.

All the diets, all the fads, the workout routines, the health shakes…. We have grown this industry so magnificently because of our continuous self doubt, self hate, and self consciousness. Of course, these businesses have also saved people’s lives, pushed people to healthier lives, and helped them lose unhealthy weight. But how powerful it must be for the health/wellness industry to know that as long as our body image continues to suffer, they are in business. As long as social media pushes perfection as reality, our self-esteem suffers and we continue to doubt ourselves.

You see, under the ‘chub rub’ between my thighs, beneath my tummy fat that jiggles when I run, and aside from the little fat roll that is created by my bra strap, is a very healthy woman. A woman who loves healthy proteins, who loves fruits and vegetables, and loves working out. A woman who does enjoy a beer from time to time, fast food, and sugary treats, but cannot enjoy these things without a little guilt sneaking in reminding me that when I eat this I will not be perfect. Underneath what you see on the surface is a woman who works hard and plays hard, and is grateful for her life.  But through her constant self doubt, she forgets about this other healthy and happy side that does not need the world to reassure or judge her based on how she looks.

But how can we feel good about ourselves when we are constantly reminded of how we are supposed to look through social media and what is considered beautiful in society? That constant reminder that to be beautiful means we need to be unrealistically perfect. This makes me sad not only for myself, but for all men and women striving for this unrealistic view of beautiful. There is nothing beautiful about being perfect. Perfect is boring, and it’s impossible.

When I research and find that being 145 pounds at 26 years old is almost considered overweight, I get discouraged.  I know how healthy,  muscular, and curvy I am, but some days that is not enough. How can that be, though, that I’m 145 pounds and almost considered overweight, for someone who spends 5 days a week doing vigorous workouts and enjoys my protein shakes and spinach? Through the constant reminders of what beautiful is supposed to look like, I forget about the beauty of who I am sometimes…. a lot of the times. And I bet many of you have had these same thoughts and questions.

I want you all to remember:

  1. Understand that what social media portrays is typically unrealistic. It is airbrushed, it is fake, and it is too perfect. We all know this, so we can all push back on this need to be perfect! Our significant others all know this too and do not expect perfection from us. A positive partner will want us to feel good about ourselves and be healthy.
  2. Quit reading the magazines, the fad diets, and trying to look like perfection. This is stressful and reassures our inability to be as perfect as society tells us to be. Do not strive to look like a celebrity, strive to look like YOU!
  3. Do what makes you happy, and ask yourself if you are living a realistic lifestyle. Can you maintain your diet and exercise? It is healthy, and do you feel good about it? It’s okay to enjoy some carbs, candy, and beer sometimes, we all deserve a break.
  4. Feel sexy. What can you do that makes you feel like the sexy little sex kitten that you are?! Is it wearing lingerie, even if you’re the only one who sees it? Is it working out? Do this whenever possible, and tell yourself how beautiful/handsome you are!
  5. There is nothing sexier than someone who is confident in the bedroom, and looks do not need to dictate your attitude in the bedroom.
  6. Focus on your accomplishments. Remind yourself every day of what your accomplishments are, and what you’re internally proud of.
  7. Spend time with supportive people…. This is huge! Having supportive, loving, and healthy people in your life will provide a more positive outlook on life.
  8. You have to put the work in. If you do want change, and you do want to be healthier, it takes some work. You must be willing to change parts of your lifestyle, and you must be patient through the process. It is hard! Physically, mentally, and emotionally hard.
  9. What is love? Is it looks, is it materialistic things? Of course not! You did not come to love your friends and significant other because of how they look, it is because of who they are. And people love you for who you are, and not how you look.
  10. Know that you’re enough. You are good enough for you! You do not need to prove yourself to anyone. You do not need to impress anyone but yourself. BeYOUtiful.

Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to others~

-keep shining

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Happy Things Thursday

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  1. Having autostart for your vehicle
  2. Grilled cheese and tomato soup
  3. Candlelit showers
  4. Unexpected inspiration
  5. Fresh donuts
  6. Work Christmas parties
  7. A good slice of pizza
  8. Netflix binge sessions
  9. Heated seats
  10. Being told by your supervisor to leave work early

 

Happy Holidays To Me

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When I began to write my holiday blog this year, I was really struggling. I was struggling because I didn’t want to write the same old stuff we always read; be thankful, be grateful, get in the holiday spirit, do for others, etc… I agree that all of this is great and wonderful, as I wrote about it last year (www.swsecrets.net/?p=3), but what else can we focus on this time of year that is equally as important but less talked about? I had to sit with this thought for a few days until I really started to notice one key part of this time of year we are missing the boat on….

OURSELVES! Yes, you! This time of year is typically focused on doing good for others, fundraising, donating our time and money, buying Christmas gifts, getting good discounts, feeling the holiday cheer, and being grateful for all we have in this life….But what about YOU? None of these things can happen without you.

This time of year is hectic, and by the time Thanksgiving gets here I can already tell I need a break, and I bet you all do too. And once Thanksgiving is over, you realize that life is not slowing down anytime soon. Now it becomes the time to give back, put up the holiday lights, make Christmas plans, start planning and prepping our meals and houses for  guests, and start putting holiday work parties on the calendar. Can a get a ‘yikes’ one time?! Let’s all pump the breaks, people! Take time to and focus on you, your needs, and what you want to do during this hectic time of year. Pull back on your crazy schedule and the need to focus on others, because if we aren’t mentally healthy and personally ‘up to par’ then everything else in our lives will suffer a little bit. Everything else in our lives will feel a little more exhausting, stressful, and frustrating because we are forgetting to put ourselves first.

Be selfish. Be about  you. This society focuses so much on doing good for others in order to live a fulfilling life. That is so true, but don’t we need to do good for ourselves and treat ourselves well before we can focus on those around us and their needs? I will give you a hint…..The answer to this question is YES.

I know you all can agree with me on this, but the bigger question is the how? How do we take time for ourselves without feeling guilty, without feeling like other things are not going to get done, and without creating that little anxiety in our bodies if we do not get every ‘t’ crossed and every ‘i’ dotted? Let me give you a few tips and tricks to get you started on your more beautifully selfish life.

  • First and foremost…. It is okay to say no. We do not constantly owe our time and energy to others, and we struggle to say no without coming up with a lie or excuse. But the unfortunate alternative is we say yes, roll our eyes, and start stressing about the things that will be put on hold because we said yes to someone else other than ourselves. Practice saying no. Challenge yourself. You can even practice now. Say it with me… NO NO NO.
    Didn’t that feel good?
  • Plan activities to do alone, and put them in your calendar. Yes, do it….Let me challenge you with this question: Realistically, if you could do anything by yourself right now or this week what would it be? What is the first thing that comes to mind for you? Okay, great. Now write that down, plan it, and put it in your schedule. I can already hear the excuses because I make them all the time (I don’t have time, I have to clean my house, I already have a full week…The list goes on and on). But, I will politely remind you to put that ‘thing’ you thought of in your schedule…..
    Didn’t that feel good? And doesn’t it make you smile?
  • It’s not always better to give than receive. We give so much of ourselves around the holidays, but at what point do we give to ourselves? At what point do we treat ourselves? At what point to we throw our hands in the air and surrender to everything that adds up on the never-ending-to-do list? Yes, it feels good to give to others whether through volunteering, our cooking/baking, or our gift giving. But the most important relationship you will have throughout life is with yourself, and you need to nurture it. Do not always feel that in order to be a good member of society means we have to take time to give back, spend all our hard earned money on food and gifts, and not take a minute of time to ourselves between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This holiday can be about you too, if you let it.
  • If you want to get take-out instead, then do it. If you don’t want to put lights up on your house or decorate head to toe, then don’t. If you don’t want to go caroling with your church group, then don’t. If you don’t want to participate in your work party’s Secret Santa exchange, that is okay….Whether or not you believe me, you have a choice, and you don’t have to do all of these things. And if you’re catching my drift, then you’ll realize that it goes back to saying no. There is too much to do this time of year, and it is up to you to recognize that and then prioritize. For example, this year I was to make the pie for Thanksgiving but I bought one instead. This year my husband and I decided not to buy Christmas lights for the house or buy each other gifts. And you know what? It felt good! Don’t be a superhero this holiday season, just do what it is that you want. After all, this is your holiday season too, not just everyone else’s. Take a breath and prioritize. Your holiday will be much more enjoyable if you’re relaxed.

During these special times of year, take advantage of the opportunity you have to spend time with loved ones, have real conversations, and enjoy authentic moments. 

-Happy Holidays and keep shining

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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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