SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace.Find happiness.Find yourself

Tag: balance (page 1 of 2)

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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Leave The Driver’s Seat

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All of us want some element of control in our lives. We try to plan out that five-year check list. We try to prepare for each day, every interaction, etc. However, all of us could use a lesson in letting go….We need to let go. We need to trust that things will work out the way they’re meant to, and that by letting go life will bring us to where we are needed most. It doesn’t matter how much we try to plan and control, there is always a chance it won’t work out. Life often has different plans for us than we have for ourselves, and that’s just the way it goes!

~Not being in control isn’t the same as being out of control.

I’ve had a few people in my life tell me that I need to work on letting go of control. I struggled with that for some time, because how do you just let go? How can you just assume things will work out, and not feel the need to have control over the outcome? Then recently I heard the above quote not being in control isn’t the same as being out of control, and it all began to make more sense to me.
Letting go of control means being open to many outcomes. This kind of mindset is healthy and it helps us to stay present; it helps us to worry less because we aren’t so focused on ensuring things work out just the way we planned them to. Being out of control is so much different than that. Being out of control means not having conscious control over our behaviors; to be unruly or wild. These two concepts are polar opposites from one another, yet we combine them to mean the same thing. We combine the concept of letting go of the need to control with the concept of being out of control. We combine a healthy outlook on life to being unruly and ‘out of hand’.
Letting go is to accept the unknown. It means being less stressed and open to new and unexpected possibilities. And how exciting does that sound, if we are open to it?! There is no event or interaction in your life that you can have complete control over. Of course, sometimes this can be stressful and frustrating, but at the end of the day what option do we have? We need to loosen up our expectations as to how we look at the world and our ‘plans’. If we don’t loosen up, we give energy to things that are not in our control, and what a waste of time that is.
Sometimes letting go means that our life feels stagnant, but why do we always need things to be progressing or moving? Progress can be a stand-still. Being stagnant can be growth if we view it through a positive lens, and it can be an important piece of life we don’t want to miss out on. When we are constantly planning out the next thing and ‘controlling’ situations, we miss out on the ease and beauty within those stand-still moments. It’s these times where we have an opportunity to exhale and ‘just be’ for a while. Keep present, as everything happens there; only this moment truly counts. And quit panicking, progress can be stagnant but that doesn’t mean we aren’t moving forward.
There is no magic answer as to how to let go and make this an effortless habit. It is difficult for me every single day. But, remembering these little tidbits of positive reframing around our thoughts regarding control is a great first step. Acceptance is also key here. Accept the uncertainty of each day and the challenges it will bring. The challenges we face each day are what makes us resilient and what makes us better, more patient and appreciative people. Reminding myself of these things has reduced my stress and helped me to be more grateful in each present moment. Taking a step back, breathing,  and enjoying life’s curve balls has made me a better friend, sister, daughter, coworker; the list goes on and on!
And just in case you forgot….Not being in control isn’t the same as being out of control.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
-keep shining

 

Eat The Popsicle That Turns Your Mouth Blue…

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Why is it that when we turn into full-time working, tax paying, house cleaning adults we forget to have fun? We take life too seriously and don’t laugh as much as we should. We lose our ability to be spontaneous and we forget the importance and excitement of being immature.
We were all kids once, and for some of us those are the best memories of our lives. We didn’t have an agenda, no ongoing stressors, and life consisted of having fun by using our imagination and acting impulsively. Being a kid consisted of enjoying the little things which made us happy. We were at our most simple and innocent selves.
The good news is we can still incorporate that mindset into our lifestyle as adults. We should never let go of our ‘kid-at-heart’ mentality. We all have a child inside of us that still wants to be carefree, laugh, and act immaturely. There is no reason we need to repress that kid inside, but instead should embrace what that brings out in us.
So how can we remember to play more and work less, you ask? Here are my thoughts…

First and foremost, don’t forget to do the things that brought you joy so many years ago. Whether you walk by a tree and have an impulse to climb it, or you want to eat the popsicle that will turn your mouth blue, paint a picture, or have an urge to dance in public…Do it! Those were the things that made us happy as kids, and we did them without thinking twice about it. As adults, we care too much about what others think of us, and focus too much on what needs to be done versus what we want to do.
Other areas we neglect as we get older is our creativity and imagination…. Creativity is why our world is so advanced, so never lose site of your imagination. Imagination is what helped you morph into the savvy, sophisticated human you are today. Our imagination is what motivated us to be creative, to make things up, to play things out, and to be curious. By using our imagination we learned about what we loved, what we were passionate about, and what we fantasized for our futures. We created so many incredible things by using our imagination; forts, drawings, silly jokes, games, lifestyles, costumes….The list goes on and on!
And in case you don’t recall…we forgot and forgave as kids. I do not ever remember holding a grudge against my sister when she forced me into blue jeans, frilly socks, and bows when all I wanted to wear were cowgirl boots and sweat pants (I screamed bloody murder every.single.time)…We moved on, and remembered the importance of still loving those in our lives who were important to us, even when they made us mad. As kids we did not judge people or talk badly about one another. We loved unconditionally, it was that simple.
And weren’t all of us annoyingly curious as kids? Always asking questions, and always exploring. Think about how much we learned by being curious and asking the “why’s” to everything adults said and did. But now that we are adults, we feel that asking a question makes us irrelevant or is something to be embarrassed about. We feel vulnerable when we ask questions and when we do not know the answers to everything. Asking questions and being curious is how we learned and grew as kiddos, and we cannot let our egos distract us from the importance of that. Nor can we judge one another for not having the answers. There truly is no such things as a stupid question, how would we know otherwise? There is so much truth to the simple saying, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Of course over time we have gained more responsibilities and stressors, but do not forget to be who you truly are. Who you are resides within the kid that lives in your heart; it’s where you came from, your passions, your curiosity, your endless love, your simplicity, your creativity and imagination. Our time is precious, and no day should go without doing something we love and being who we are. Make time to laugh each and every day, be impulsive, and eat that blue popsicle.

Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? ~

-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

Being Selfish Is Not Selfish

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I know that you have heard me say it before, but I want you to know some really good news!!! Are you ready for it? Here it goes….

 It is okay to be selfish sometimes.

Isn’t that relieving?! Knowing that you can focus on yourself and your own needs, and not have to feel guilty about it?

For the sake of this blog I like to refer to selfishness as ‘self-interest’ because it has a much more positive tone to it. So, why is it so important to be self-interested? And how can we be self-interested without feeling guilty?

Answer me this…How productive are you when you are exhausted, upset, rushed? How involved and focused are you on your work, family, and other obligations when you are experiencing those symptoms I just listed? How are you able to fully invest in those obligations when you are not fully invested in yourself, first and foremost?

Do this exercise for me real quick: Come up with a list of things you can do for self care, because to be self-interested means you have to take care of yourself. What are some goals you can set for yourself to be sure you’re giving yourself enough ‘me time’, and how will you hold yourself accountable for reaching that goal? For example, one of my self care goals is to get a manicure every 3 weeks 🙂 I schedule my next appointment while I am at the salon so I know for sure that I will continue my self care and not forget about it. Although this act of self-interest costs money, there are many self-interest options that do not cost anything, such as taking a bath, going for a walk, calling someone you’re close to, listening to music, etc.

Each day ask yourself two things: 1. What would be the most loving action I could take for myself today? 2. What would be fun for me today?
Put these questions in your phone as an alarm, or write yourself a sticky note and place it somewhere you will see it each and every day.

Self-interest helps to clear our minds and feel rejuvenated. It helps me focus on myself, and what I need to do for me in order to focus on my other obligations. We need that ‘breath of fresh air’ sometimes, that break, that moment of selfishness to feel ready to take on the next challenge that comes our way. I know for a fact that I am much more empathetic, patient, and happy helping others at work every day when I also remember to help myself.

Sometimes I feel guilty when I focus on myself, and I think that is pretty normal. But, by reminding myself that I am a better me when I am happy and give myself some time to breathe, I feel so much better about every other aspect in my life. You are helping others more-so by spending some time focusing on you as well. With a fresh mind, you can better help and be there for others. It is all about balance and giving yourself permission to love yourself.

I think society puts a lot of pressure on us to do for others, be helpful, focus on people’s needs and how we can better this world. Yes, all of these things are true and important, but we are forgetting to include ourselves in there! We cannot better the lives of others if we are not bettering ourselves. We are a society focused on external reward and praise for our actions. Those are great things, but they can be even greater if we remember to give ourselves a break sometimes.
Self interest = self respect.
Type ‘self-interest quotes’ into your search engine and view images to see all the negative ideas of self-interest that pop up. This is unfortunately a good example of why we are made to believe that being self-interested is frowned upon, and that is truly a misconception!

It is not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and make your happiness a priority.  It’s necessary.

Have I persuaded you yet?

-keep shining

 

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