SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace.Find happiness.Find yourself

Page 2 of 27

Treat Yo’ Self

When is the last time you celebrated yourself?
Told yourself that you’re proud?
Gave yourself a compliment?
Told someone about a recent success of yours?

We are pretty incredible, yet we always find ways to downplay our accomplishments, or find our flaws rather than focus on all we bring to this world.
Why are we embarrassed to celebrate ourselves? We practically despise recognizing our successes, or God forbid, talk about any of our skills or positive attributes. It makes us uncomfortable to put ourselves first when we should be recognizing how bad*ss we are.
You are unique. Your contributions, in whatever form they are, matter. You are worth celebrating. Therefore, treat yo’ self! Do not let yourself fall into the trap of believing that it’s not okay to talk about, celebrate, or recognize yourself. I think one of the biggest mistakes we make and one of the deepest pains we feel is when we deny our own positive attributes and accomplishments because we believe it is for the benefit of everyone else’s comfort. And that is simply not true. We are worth celebrating, and we must take some time to treat ourselves for all that we are.

Here are some ways I try to celebrate myself…

Affirmations
I know, this first one is super ‘social workey’, but it is true and is a hugely underutilized self care technique.
What do you want in your life, what do you desire, how do you want to feel, what do you want to believe to be true, and what do you want to remind yourself of every day? The answers to these questions can be found through daily affirmations. Write down a few goals you have for your life, what you want to see happen, and be specific. Or tell yourself a few things each day that make you feel good, proud, happy, sexy, successful…whatever it is you want to believe and remind yourself. Affirmations can simply be an acknowledgement of all the good that you are, and visualizations for what you’d like to see happen.
If this is challenging for you, just Google ‘affirmations’. There are many websites to help you understand and incorporate this into your every day life.

Give Yourself Permission
To do whatever it is you want. Take a break, say no, put yourself first, skip the gym, change plans…It’s going to be OKAY. Can’t we all just make it socially acceptable to give ourselves permission, and everyone else be understanding of that?! Cut yourself some slack, take a breather, and give yourself permission to look after you. This can also be giving yourself permission to love your body, forgive your mistakes, trust yourself, and let go of anything that no longer serves you.
Recite this sentence right now and see what comes to mind; I give myself permission to _________.
Doesn’t that feel GOOD?!

Allow Yourself To Give AND Receive
Yes, I know, how dare the thought come into my mind to tell you it’s okay to receive. How dare I suggest that we deserve to be complimented, to be given gifts, to be offered help. *GASPS*
Reread this sentence a few times…You are not taking away from anyone else by receiving. We can give and receive equally, and you accepting the giving side of others does not mean you’re selfish. In fact, by being open to receiving you are bettering yourself and those around you because you are more balanced. You must have both in your life to be the best you that you can be. Life will eat you alive if all you do is give to others.
We have all experienced relationships where someone would just take from us. We also have all experienced relationships where someone would refuse to ask for or receive help. These relationships are draining, and frankly annoying. Do not be this person (yes, I am talking to you, KAREN!), and also do not accept relationships that simply take from you. This is an area where you can give yourself permission to remove toxic relationships from your life.
Accept compliments, accept gifts, accept help, accept love. And also give because you enjoy it and it makes you feel good.

Take Opportunities
Guess what? You are worthy of all the opportunities that come your way; take them. You deserve it. Opportunities fall in your lap because they are absolutely meant to. And if you missed one, do not fret, there will always be more if you believe that you deserve them and open yourself up to experiences. By utilizing affirmations and finding balance, I can assure you opportunities will seem to start falling out of the sky. You are worthy of all the good that comes your way.

Celebrate Yourself
Yes, it’s okay to celebrate YOU. Sometimes it can be as little as buying your favorite coffee after you kicked a** at work, or simply because you feel you deserve a little self love and enjoyment of the little things in life…What are things you can do to remind yourself of how awesome you are? How can you celebrate yourself and make it a part of your routine?
This is different for everyone. It can be that coffee treat now and again, it can be to share your awesomeness with someone close to you, it can be to write it down, or it can be to share it widely on social media. The sky is the limit to how you celebrate your life, but always, ALWAYS, make time for this. If you do not acknowledge why you are here, then what is the point of living? You are here for a reason, celebrate that! Shout it from the rooftops if ya want, hunny!

Be Thankful
I know, this sounds obvious, but we overlook it often. If you find all the things going right each day, it brings about more abundance in your life. If you notice all the positivity that surrounds you, you’ll continually start to focus on all the good. Don’t you want to wake up and enjoy each day?
It is easy for us to point out and focus on the few setbacks we experience each day, and we always find something to complain about. If we focused half of that energy on seeing how 99% of our day is actually going well, we would be happier, plain and simple. It can be as little as finding a convenient parking spot, and taking a second to acknowledge how grateful we are. It can be to think about or write down 10 things we are thankful for today, and do this every morning or evening. It can be to smile at the thought of having your health, your family, a stable job, a lake home, an easy day at work, hitting all the green lights on your drive, receiving a compliment, eating a good meal, getting a good grade, receiving a gift…These are things that happen to us every day that we lose an opportunity to celebrate because we overlook. Amidst the chaos and tough times, there is so much to be thankful for!
(If you need some motivation and reminders, check out my Happy Things Thursday posts!)

Find Balance
Work is great because it provides us a sense of purpose and direction, but it is not the most important thing in our lives. If we have tunnel vision only looking towards the value of the dollar and our work ethic, we are missing out on what life is truly about. Our successes should just be a portion of life, as we are not here to work hard and die. It is upsetting to me to watch so many people going through life this way; wanting to work too hard now to play later in life. But what about the fact that we can have both, now and later on? We cannot give work all of our best effort if we do not stop to have fun and take a break once in a while. It is not good for our mental health as this is where we get bitter towards work. Do not let this happen…Not only do you start to burn out from your career, which you worked so hard to achieve, but you start losing interest in everything outside of work too. We start to hoard guilt over not working and being productive 24/7, and then feel anxious anytime we try to relax.
Repeat after me, it’s okay to waste time.
Say whaaa?! Yes, we can do nothing AND benefit from it. It restores us and gives us a brain break. We benefit from checking out from life, because it’s all about balance. Just like we need to give AND receive, we need to work AND play because this is when we can truly be our best selves. We cannot inhale without exhale; we need both to breathe. We cannot get to our destination if we don’t stop AND go; we need both to drive safely.

Life is incredible when we ease up, celebrate who we are, find purpose through our work, be grateful, accept kindness from others, and jump at new opportunities. Oh ya, and watch some Netflix and eat the damn donut…You know, treat yo’self.

When you celebrate yourself, you celebrate life~
-keep shining

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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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