SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace.Find happiness.Find yourself

Month: April 2020

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

Find me:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest

COVID-19, ever heard of it?

What a crazy time to be alive, huh? There are many unknowns, new experiences, unanswered questions, and societal shifts. Everything we are currently experiencing will have a substantial impact on society, and it clearly already has. We are stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, and scared. And isn’t it fascinating, and disturbing, how much people’s behavior changes when motivated by fear? The amount of chaos that is felt, uncertainty, and lack of control is enough to send anyone over the edge, and sometimes fear can come out in confusing and unfortunate ways.

It’s an interesting shift for us all right now in many of the same ways, as well as having our own variety of differences…New perspective on our lives, raw and deep conversations, different ways of planning and viewing the world and our priorities. And regardless all of this chaos and uncertainty, I keep coming back to one primary thought and focus; how beautiful this experience is. Literally, an entire world going through the same hardship together. What I have encountered with this pandemic is another level of vulnerability that’s being discovered between us that I have never felt before. It’s created more open and honest conversations with ourselves and those around us. It’s created the ability to witness our communities coming together in powerful and impactful ways. It has taught us to learn technology in new ways and review outdated work policies to create a healthier work environment. And it’s provided for time on our hands we didn’t know could exist.

Of course, we want to be aware of the suffering, confusion, and fear this brings into many people’s lives. And also be aware that not everyone has the ability to work from home, still have an income, or afford the financial burden and additional life barriers this creates. Yet we can also embrace the unique positives this has to offer. COVID-19 has simplified our lives for a moment, it has provided an opportunity to appreciate life, and has renewed our love for the communities we live in…As we have to endure this pandemic no matter our feelings and experiences with the situation, how can we use it to our benefit? COVID-19 is clearly out of our control, for the most part, so what can we do to find the beauty in the experience? We might as well view the positive side too and change our mindset, as we have no choice but to endure this until it subsides.

Personally, one thing I’ve come to realize through this is how little peace I have in my life. I am constantly on the go and distracted with intensity seeping into every inch of my life. I distract myself constantly with my daily routine, not allowing time for quiet or self reflection, or not giving time to things that truly matter in my life. As a human race, this pandemic has forced us to be alone, or constantly be with family, or not work at all or work from home…These situations can all be incredible opportunities if we choose to use them.

What house projects have you had to put off because of work, or quality time you’ve wanted to spend with your family that never seemed to take priority, or hobbies you have been meaning to start or pick back up? What tedious work tasks can you take time to focus on? What are ways you can give back to your community in a time of need? Hint: NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT ALL.
Even though I’m still working from home full time, not having those additional tasks at work, not running around for my daily errands, and not attending social events, there is this extra quiet time during my day that I am taking advantage of…This is simplifying pieces of my life. I even forced myself to binge Netflix the other day without feeling guilty about it, and I’ve never done that before! (Damn you, Tiger King). I also picked up a book I stopped reading, I workout in silence, I spend more time FaceTiming friends and family and discovered I listen better. I’m more calm and go with the flow as everything around us seems to be out of our control, and I see the world a little differently now. I have rediscovered my love for cooking and baking. And as much as I hate running, I’ve been jogging outside and spending more time in nature than I ever had ‘time’ for. I have also seen more teenagers outdoors than usual, and it’s incredible to see the creativity that has been produced through this. Whether projects at home with the family, unique ways to work out, or ideas for continuing to ‘see’ our friends and family, the amount of love, creativity, humor, and community togetherness I have felt is something I do not think we could experience outside of this pandemic. And it is the only time in our lives (hopefully) that something of this nature will occur. There are pieces of this that are pretty incredible, and a rare opportunity to take advantage of…

Think of all the seemingly small things we take for granted and how it is all being put into perspective; running to the store and choosing items from stocked shelves, grabbing a beer with friends, seeing coworkers every day and having a stable job, going to the gym, just breathing without assuming you’re sick, and ultimately living life the way we know it to be. I’m hopeful that all of this helps us become who we always strived to be, whether that’s being more family oriented, or crafty, or facing our deepest fears and insecurities, or calling loved ones more often. Seeing the typically small things for big things right now because it brings us joy, whereas before these small things were overlooked with the busyness of our lives. The beauty of it all is what we can take away from this, if we choose. We can choose to face our fears and potential realities, we will heal and grieve together, we may dream bigger or live simpler after this, and we will move forward and be okay. And someday, this can be a time we choose to reminisce about and think, “what a fascinating and beautiful time it was to be alive”. 

What does this experience create an opportunity for? That is the ultimate gift. 

We are all in this together ~

-keep shining
Find me:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest

Happy Things Thursday

  1. Having friends at work
  2. The feeling of accomplishment after an outdoor run
  3. Watching people enjoy a meal you cooked for them
  4. Drinking a cup of coffee before starting the day
  5. Putting on new, not worn socks
  6. Finishing a long overdue house project *sigh of relief*
  7. The first ‘it’s-finally-nice-enough-outside-to open-my-windows’ day of spring.
  8. Starting a new Netflix series
  9. Washing your hands with a good smelling soap
  10. Face Time chats with family and friends