SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

Tag: fear

Feeling Into Your Thinking

Feelings…Feelings, feelings, feelings! We are full of ‘em. Every single thought we have has a feeling attached to it. Often times those feelings are emotions we stuff deep down instead of dealing with them…And there’s a huge myth out there that goes something like this; if we avoid our feelings they don’t exist and they will eventually disappear.
We avoid circumstances (people, places, situations, conversations) that bring about emotional reactions we don’t wish to experience. We ‘avoid’ with the assumption that the feelings associated with the circumstances will go away. The fear associated with feelings, and inability to handle the feelings, seems to be easier to deal with if we try to forget their existence in our minds. Instead, if we feel into the fear and face the emotion, we can diminish the fear and understand the emotion; thus, removing the need to avoid. This also allows us space to understand ourselves better and live life more freely rather than by what we think we should be doing.
Feeling into the fear allows us to better recognize and work through our emotion and be more honest with ourselves. We are so fearful of feeling. We would rather not know the outcome or avoid having to come face to face with making difficult decisions. What we forget is that our emotions tell us so much about ourselves and what we want and need to do. And we also forget that these emotions don’t just leave us alone. If they are unresolved, they will continue to build, nag us and give us this feeling of ‘what if’…
It’s okay to feel what you are feeling. But when our feelings are different from where we want them to be, we don’t want them to exist.

No matter what thoughts we may have, whether we want them to exist or not, your life can still bring you joy. It doesn’t matter which path you meander on, no one can take away who you are. Facing and owning your feelings is a part of life’s purpose. And the best part? No matter the emotional turmoil and confusion and no matter where life brings you, you can always have joy. That’s because no one can take away your self worth, your love, your happiness, your mindset, your journey. These things have and will always be yours. Knowing that is what makes life worth living.
Typically problems arise because of how we think about these things. There is so much self pressure to retain things a certain way that we focus more on thinking about controlling these things (self worth, love, happiness, mindset, journey) based on where we think we should be, rather than listening to our inner wisdom and emotional responses. We are constantly in a state of avoiding thoughts and honest conversations with ourselves about where we are at internally. We are scared. We don’t want to complicate things. And we forget that we already own all of these wonderful things that have and will always be ours. Regardless of our feelings, we can still have self worth, love, happiness, a healthy mindset, and our journey. So what is there to fear when the things we fear most are ours to have if we want them? It goes back to this myth that if we keep our feelings stuffed deep down, we can avoid them and just keep on our current path of comfort and deal with the floating thoughts of ‘what if’. Avoiding our emotions tricks us into thinking our feelings have dissipated when actually, they are waiting to rise to the surface to be dealt with later.
We pay so much attention to ‘controlling’ our thoughts, thus ‘controlling’ and hiding our emotions. But who wants to hide? Who wants to cover up who they really are? Who doesn’t want to learn about themselves? The obsession we have with control causes us to avoid listening to our gut and our inner guidance. But it’s this inner guidance and wisdom that is where we come from, and without it you would not exist as your unique self.

Recommendations:
Give yourself time, but not too much…
Time can be related to avoidance. There’s a balance between giving yourself time to understand and process your feelings, and then deciding what to do about them. If we wait too long to take action, we start resonating too much which can cause more fear, anxiety, and even anger. We don’t want our feelings to eat up our energy. Coming to terms with our feelings is supposed to be a healing, uplifting, and refreshing experience, even though it can feel scary.
Also give yourself time after coming to terms and acting on those feelings to let the dust settle and see how things effortlessly blossom thereafter.

Allow plenty of space for silence…
We forget how noisy our world is. Nothing has been more powerful in my life than giving myself space for thought. No music, no background noise, no one else around…
Let yourself experience those floating thoughts that come through, and do so without any distraction. I feel so refreshed after spending time in complete silence, and it has helped me get to know myself. There is no greater feeling than looking forward to silence and the experiences of your own thoughts. Enjoy times of silence, and be your own best friend!

Journal and meditate…
I know I know, I always get a few eyerolls here. BUT, hear me out…Just take the time to write and process through the feelings we do not even realize are there. This is where I take moments to pause and focus on the feelings I forget about because I am so busy thinking about everything else. Journaling is a great way to understand pieces of you that you didn’t know existed, and adding meditation helps to let go of everything aside from what’s in front of you right now. Take the time to stay present rather than stress over all the thoughts we have flying through our mind each day.
Let yourself go here; don’t control what comes through the pen or what emotions come up when you meditate. It’s your time to give back to yourself, and you owe it to yourself to have that quality time. 

Be honest with yourself…
Spending more time in silence, journaling, coming to terms with your emotions, etc. cannot happen if you don’t let go. Being honest with yourself is huge. Feel into the confusion, those fears, hesitations, conflicts, and questions. If you can’t be honest with yourself, how do you expect to move forward and enjoy every aspect of your life? Let your guard down with yourself, it’ll be okay.

Understand that your thoughts are just thoughts
Thoughts drive our feelings, so taking a hard look at how your thoughts affect your feelings is crucial. Sometimes if we change our thoughts and perspective on a situation, our emotions change, too. Our thoughts are what drives our perception of the world and how we feel about it. And just because we think a thought, that does not mean we agree to it or believe it. Thoughts can just come and go, and we do not need to feel into every fleeting thought in our mind.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking ~

-keep shining

Similar blogs:
It’s Okay, Guilt, Control, Failing, Self Forgiveness

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Color Outside The Lines

A common theme I have noticed lately is the amount of guilt we suffer with as humans. Many friends and clients I interact with have shared stories with me about their guilt and how they’ve allowed it to control decisions they make or skew their perspective. These conversations have lead me to realize how much we allow guilt to paralyze us. We constantly suffer from guilt, let it eat us alive, and alter our decision-making. We feel guilty for things we don’t do, things we do, things we do or don’t say, not doing enough or doing too much. And if we let it, guilt is a never ending cycle of torture. And it causes us to fear life rather than enjoy every twist and turn it has to offer.

The way out of guilt is to look inward. We cannot allow guilt to run our lives. When we do, we are not living our own truths, and we are veering off path from the things we want to experience. Life isn’t about fearing and second-guessing every decision we make. Life is about navigating fear, not letting it win us over. Life would be so much easier if we feared less, and only you can remove the fear.

Unfortunately, it is so normal for us to abide by the rules set by other people and institutions. We try to avoid feeling guilty or avoid being out of compliance with what ‘rules’ have been set for us. But we have to push aside what people and institutions have said to us; all the rules, the do’s and don’ts. I am not saying having morals and values are not important, but we do not need to feel guilt for making mistakes or just doing something different. Morals and values can change with our growth as an individual, but we fear going against the norm. There is so much fear instilled in us through people and institutions that we forget to ask ourselves the most important questions; What do we want for ourselves? What is it that we want to experience?
We live in such fear of doing ‘wrong’…We forget that we are in the driver’s seat. Ask yourself who ultimately gets to decide what is ‘wrong’ for your life…Why aren’t we deciding for ourselves what is right or wrong?

We put way too much emphasis on other people’s and institution’s feelings and expectations of us. But the contradicting part is that it is our life to live. You are a good person, you are loved, and you are human. People put so much emphasis on guilt or fear around a ‘judging God’ (and by God I mean any higher power, institution, spirit, etc. you believe in). God LOVES you, period. You will not be judged for going this way or that way in your life. There is no judgement from God…just love. This is the hang up many people have; displeasing a ‘judging God’.

We cannot allow fate to happen when we live in fear, yet we try to allow fate and fear both to be the most impactful and dominate factors in our lives….This idea is impossible. Fate cannot express itself if the motivating or controlling force behind our actions/decisions is fear. We are distracted from experiencing our fate because of the guilt we hoard. We need to be easy on ourselves and let go a little bit. There is nothing to fear.

When we remove the guilt and focus more on our wants and our own decisions or rights/wrongs, we feel better. We become more certain about what we want. If we can remove the guilt, our minds and bodies will tell us over time what direction is right. Of course it’s human of us to want to consider how our decisions affect others, but don’t forget to keep yourself in that equation as well. The love for yourself should be of the upmost importance to you.

There are many situations in my life where one would assume I’d need to feel guilt, but I don’t let that consume me. I am my own person who is making my own decisions based on what I want at that time. No one can tell me what is right or wrong for me, only I know what feels right and what needs to happen for me to move forward. I don’t owe anyone an explanation.

It’s okay to color outside the lines now and then. Your feelings, opinions, and actions are legitimate because you say they are. You meander through life as your own unique self. You are not purposefully trying to harm institutions you believe in or hurt other people you love. And the God you believe in knows that. You’re just doing your best and living life on your terms. We are all just trying to figure it out. And how beautiful is that?…Isn’t that what life is about?

Once you decide to live on your own terms, notice who rises to the surface to be beside you. Who accepts you for who you are, and who knows your value and your heart. Those are the people who truly understand you. Quit apologizing for actions you take or saying sorry for being who you are, just be aware of it as this helps you understand what you want in your life.

We are always changing, learning, growing. We do not need to tell people every single time we change or justify our behavior, because we are just changing continuously. We do not need to straighten it out, fix things, apologize…It is okay to just be changing, as we all do. Change helps us grow, and growth brings us happiness.

Guilt is a sure way to unhappiness and stress, and guilt is a constant state of paranoia around ‘doing what you’re supposed to’ (whatever that means). The rest of your life is a really long time to not be sure if you’re happy. It is important to ask yourself if suffering with guilt and living in fear is worth compromising your own truth, well-being, and experiences that you’d want for yourself. It’s important to know that whatever choices you make, they are a part of you. They are teaching you, and that does not make you a bad person. Don’t forget that YOU get to decide. You are a good person, and there is only LOVE.

No amount of guilt can change the past. No amount of anxiety can shape the future. 

-keep shining

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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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Connection vs. Attachment

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Throughout our lifetimes we have numerous relationships that come and go. With each relationship we encounter, we development ourselves further. We learn more about who we are through others. We discover what it is we want in a friend and in a life partner through connection and attachment, and we further develop our own values and morals based on our interactions with those we surround ourselves with.
It’s no secret that relationships are both tough and life changing. They offer so much to us; relationships are the basis of human life. We are completely motivated by our desire for human interaction. Everything we think revolves around the impact it’ll have on our relationships. It’s the interactions with those around us that create a feeling of wholeness; our desire for human connection makes up the entirety of our lives.

As I previously stated, relationships come and go. It’s the ‘go’ part that gets tough, but it’s also the ‘go’ that creates resiliency within ourselves. It changes us, makes us stronger, and gets us one step closer to solidifying what kinds of relationships we want to surround ourselves with. The ‘go’ is typically the break up, or the decision to end a friendship. These are the rough patches that cause pain, and take a lot of time to heal and move on from. It’s not easy. It’s hard to let go of people we feel attached to, partly because we devote a lot of our time to the attachments we have with people. But to be attached isn’t necessarily what we want in a relationship…

Connection gives you power, attachment sucks the life out of you.

Let me further explain….

I was recently educating high school students on healthy relationships. We were discussing what makes a relationship unhealthy, and one student mentioned being “attached at the hip”.  This made me think about the meaning behind the phrase “attached at the hip” and where it came from.  After giving it some thought, it dawned on me that there is a huge difference between connection and attachment, but often times we combine them to be one in the same.

We all witness or personally experience those relationships that just go through the motions, or settling, as some would say. It’s being too comfortable, being too content and not knowing how to leave because you’ve formed an attachment to their presence… Like we do not know how to move on because we have developed an attachment to having that person around, and we fear what people will think if we stray from the ‘norm’ or what they were expecting from us.  This is attachment.  We attach to people and do not know how to function without them, regardless of whether or not it is healthy or what we really want.
To attach means to join together or fasten to something. For example, we attach to our phones because we have developed a habit; a feeling of not being able to get by each day without it in our presence and constantly in reach. A habit of just having it around and knowing it will be there. We always know where our phones are at any minute….Now how unhealthy does that sound when we say that about relationships?

What we really mean to be seeking when we form an attachment to someone is a connection. Connection is unconditional love. It’s an unexplainable bond to someone, sometimes unexpected. Ever hear or use the phrase, ‘we just clicked’ or, ‘we just connected’?
It’s an understanding of someone that supersedes the other relationships in our lives. Sometimes it is the feeling of knowing someone despite not spending a lot of time with them. It can be finishing each others sentences, or being able to feel what the other person feels; being able to read the other person. It is a feeling of knowing….You just get each other, and sometimes it’s hard to put that into words. It’s sharing our true selves, our deepest secrets, without fear of the other person judging. It’s feeling complete, understood, and allowing each other to make mistakes. It’s being away from each other and having trust that your connection is strong enough to endure turmoil, and confident enough to overcome differences. Finding connection is powerful; it gives us confidence.
Connection is having common interests.
Our minds are wired to connect to people, we need it…We crave it. There is nothing more satisfying than finding connections with people and exploring them. To expand ourselves by interacting with others on a deeper, more meaningful and whole level. We are happy when we are connected.

Take some time to dissect your relationships. Be honest with yourself; there is nothing to fear. Ask yourself the tough questions. Yes, we will have superficial relationships in our lives, most relationships we have  are superficial…or ‘surface-level’. Sometimes we just attach to people based on outer circumstances. But you have choice in the matter, you have the ability to come and go in people’s lives. You decide why you want to move on or stick around. You choose what it is you’re seeking in your relationships, and what you ultimately want for your life. Go after it.

~Maybe it’s not about the length of time you’ve known someone, maybe it’s about instant recognition on an unconscious level…Connection doesn’t care what society tells us, your Soul will be pulled to the place it belongs.

-keep shining