SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

Tag: Gratitude

Who Are You?

I am the unwavering love that encompasses you every minute of every day. I am the calm before the storm, and the calm once the storm subsides. I am the truth, I am real. I am everything you want to be, and what you realize you already are. I am your base, the support to guide you. Trust in me, and in turn you’ll trust yourself. I am the kindness and warmth in your heart. I am strength. I am vulnerability. Growth is a part of me. I am peace. I am everywhere, and I am incredible…I am you.

-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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I Am Thankful

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Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! Of course, since it’s the season of giving and thanks, a blog focused on these wonderful topics feels necessary. There is nothing better in this world than the holiday season, am I right?!

I’ll be honest with you and admit that a small part of me feels so guilty around this time of year. I am fortunate to have a happy, healthy, and loving family to spend the holidays with.  I am always looking forward to the holidays because of how much I enjoy being with my family. The reason I feel guilty is because in my daily work as a social worker I spend time with children who have never celebrated a holiday. Never celebrated a holiday… Can you imagine that? Daily, I spend time with children who have never been given a gift, and do not know how to unwrap a present. I spend time with children who do not know who their family is and have no one to celebrate with. I spend the holidays explaining to children who Santa Claus is because they have never heard of him. I have seen children celebrate holidays in residential facilities and do not have any family come to visit them. I have seen children who do not know where their siblings are during the holidays and are worried about them. I have seen children’s behaviors escalate over the holidays because they do not know how to process the emotions that they are feeling during the holiday season. These children listen to other peers in school talk about their holiday festivities and their families, their new gifts…Can you imagine how that must feel? It is difficult for me to take time off of work to enjoy this special time of year without wanting to take all of my clients home with me! For me, this time of year makes it hard to separate work from home life.

I think it is SO important this time of year to truly think about what it is we are thankful for, no matter how big or small. There is always something to be thankful for. I would challenge all of you to physically write down a list of all that you are thankful for this year. Hopefully you are overwhelmed with positive feelings when you can look at that list and think of how fortunate you are to have countless amounts of wonderful things and wonderful people in your lives! Be mindful of the positive aspects of your life and be thankful for them.

Focus on the beauty of this earth. The sky, the changing of the seasons, the sounds of nature… Be thankful for the beauty that surrounds us every single day, and that we so easily overlook.Think about all the obvious wonders in our lives that we overlook. Focus on those ‘things’ that we forget that we have the luxury to enjoy…Every.Single.Day.

I would also challenge you to do one good deed this holiday season revolved around helping others. It feels SO good to give back and to help those less fortunate than ourselves. If you have children, I would encourage you to get them involved in the season of giving as this time of year can be such a fabulous learning experience for children.
Why is it so important to give back and be thankful this holiday season, you ask? Just remember those children I mentioned above and try putting yourselves in their shoes.

As a social worker we try to make the holidays such an exciting time for the individuals we serve. We try making it special, unique, memorable. This can seem impossible at times, and sometimes I feel defeated… There is truly nothing I can do to make this person feel loved around the holidays. But, I can be there for them and I can give back somehow to make their holiday experiences just a little bit better, a little more meaningful, and help them create moments worth remembering.

I want people to know that lending a helping hand during the holidays does not go unnoticed. It does not matter how big or small your contribution is, you can make a difference. You can help in making the holiday season be positive for those who have never experienced the warm, loving feeling this season provides to most of us. And please, enjoy the holiday season you are fortunate to spend with your friends and family, making memories and eating all those comfort foods…After all, calories don’t count during the holidays, right?!

It feels good to do good for others.

-keep shining, and have a safe and memorable Thanksgiving.