SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

Tag: embrace

Finding Peace Through Pain

The entire concept and culture around emotional pain completely fascinates me. We hurt a lot as humans; it’s a part of our growth and resiliency while we venture through life. And most of the pain we deal with day to day is our thoughts. What is fascinating to me is that we choose to let pain burden us, and because of that we experience things like confusion, irritability, difficulty concentrating, fear, anxiety, anger, rejection, humiliation, perceived failure, mood swings, guilt, shame, and self-blame (to name a few)…And to add to this long list, pain causes us to mentally rewind time, replay situations, ruminate,  and wish for different outcomes. AKA-we are constantly and subjectively experiencing mental suffering. And do you know the worst part is? It’s addicting…

It’s easy for our minds to focus on and discuss the negative; what isn’t going well, what hurts, what upsets us, what we don’t like. Our minds are hardwired to have a stronger focus on and easier pull towards pain rather than happiness and optimism. It’s engrained into our cultures and entangled  in our every day life to focus on negativity…It’s contagious to experience pain because it helps us relate to others and gives us something to talk about.  We are motivated by pain and negativity, and we gravitate towards focusing on others’ pain and negativity more so than what is going well in their lives.

I am constantly being asked how I manage pain from my personal life experiences as well as the secondary trauma I acquire from helping those that have endured horrific pain. I did not realize how much pain could gradually seep into my life until working in a career filled with it. That being said, I have come to live by a few very important rules regarding pain and how I ensure it doesn’t control me…

  • First and foremost – every painful, broken piece of us doesn’t need to be analyzed, collected, or remembered… Some pieces need to stay lost because they don’t belong to us, they happened to us. Let the pieces go. Move forward, and do not hold onto these things. Do not claim the pain, just understand that it was an experience. And as hard as it is, do not tie emotion to it. It just is, and let it be just that.
  • Change your beliefs about the pain. We cannot experience love, humility, positivity without an understanding of gratitude. And without any pain, we would fail to see how great life can truly be. How can you look at the painful experience as a learning curve, or a helpful step in the right direction? What positives can come out of this pain? How can you change the belief about the purpose of the pain to help it motivate you?
  • Do not run away from pain, allow yourself to feel everything. Be present with your feelings, allow whatever it is that wants to come up to do so. Do not be embarrassed; purge the emotion. This is how we move forward, otherwise we stuff things deep inside to be dealt with later, on top of all the other pain we try to avoid. Embrace what you need to feel; it helps to understand and accept the pain… A very good tool for this is meditation.
  • Slow down. We cannot allow ourselves to feel if we are constantly going at a pace of 100 miles an hour. Give yourself time to breathe, and figure out how to move forward with these painful experiences. I am guilty of purposefully going 100 miles an hour so I do not have time to ruminate on pain… It’s how I distract myself, and it is not healthy. Take time to be with yourself, and work through the pain before it gets stuffed deep down to come up later. And trust me, it will come up later.
  • When you are right in the muck of your pain, ask yourself if there’s any piece of this that you can control. If the answer is no, you cannot control or change anything about this, then learn to let it go after you process through it. *Meditation is super helpful here also*. We cannot hold onto pain that serves us no purpose. If we can’t make any positive changes, and if the situation is not in our control, we must move on and move forward.  What other option do we really have?
  • And lastly – how can you make your pain a part of you? Always remind yourself to use pain to your advantage. Remind yourself that pain makes you who you are, and it has helped to develop you into your current self…Your soulful, resilient self. And isn’t that a beautiful thing?


You are never more than one thought away from peace~

-keep shining

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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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