SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

Tag: love (page 1 of 3)

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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To Feel It All Is To Be Alive

We are supposed to feel…
Emotions are meant to awaken us.

We are supposed to
love
and hate
and cry
and laugh.

That’s the point.
To feel it all is to be human.

We are supposed to be destroyed.
Pick up the pieces over and over again.

Don’t avoid it,
don’t remove it.

Accept the pain when you’re broken.
Know that you’re going to make mistakes.

We grieve,
we get angry.

But it’s only then that we recognize how good life can be when it’s really good.

To feel it all is be to alive. 

 

-keep shining

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Turning People Into Trees


When you go out into the woods and you look at the trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent and some of them are straight. Some of them are evergreens and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light and so it turned out that way. And you don’t get emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans you lose all that. You are constantly saying, “you’re too this“, or “I’m too this“. That judging mind comes in. So I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.  –
Ram Dass

This is easily one of my favorite quotes of all time. Do yourself a quick favor (pretty please) and read this quote again, soak it up, and think about how this pertains to your life.
Now what I need all of you to do is ease up…Ease up, people! On yourselves, on others, on the trees, on everything. Life is too short to live each day judging everyone. And most importantly, life is too short to live each day judging yourself. Nothing kills love quicker than judgement.

There is nothing more beautiful or worthwhile than discovering who someone is. Beneath it all. Everyone has a story, and we miss out on that by all of our preconceived assumptions and opinions. Everyone can teach you something, and we constantly lose out on the opportunity to learn. How boring would life be if everyone were just like you, if everyone thought the same way you did? If you allow yourself to let people just be without creating any immediate assumptions about who they are and/or treat them as such, they will blossom, and they will remember how kind you were. That is what makes life worth living. People are doing the best that they can in the best way that they know how. 

We all have our struggles and life is hard enough. Be sure to remind yourself each day why you are important, why you matter, and why you love yourself. We forget to be kind to ourselves because we are so scared of judgement. We care far too much about what others think about us and we care far too much about things that do not matter. We cannot control those who judge us, but we can control how we judge ourselves….

If judging others and yourself and making assumptions about people is something you struggle with, I challenge you to practice this skill and see how it changes your life. And let the trees be a reminder of how positive life can be.
Appreciate yourself, and appreciate those around you.

-keep shining

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

Yes People

Why is it that we want to please others more than ourselves? That we cancel our own plans to take on the extra work shift we are too mentally exhausted to handle. That we agree to help a friend instead of going to that movie we were looking forward to…..I’ll tell you why, it’s because we live in a world full of Yes People, and I can almost guarantee you’re one of them.

Yes People put others before themselves; they live for second place. Yes People believe that in order to have a fulfilled life, they must sacrifice for others and be in a constant state of giving back.
So what if I told you I think this way of life is total b.s.?

Riddle me this: How are we supposed to be helpful to others, sacrifice our own wellbeing, and be in a constant state of giving if we aren’t mentally sound, or emotionally and physically healthy? How are we supposed to live a happy life if we forget to put ourselves first rather than let ourselves go for the betterment of others?
The answer? We can’t. But the unfortunate thing is we do it constantly. We live in a society that puts more meaning and emphasis on always giving to others rather than to ourselves. We live in a time where we feel guilty if we say no, we feel guilty if we take a break, and we feel guilty if we do something nice for ourselves for once. And you know what else? We judge and get upset with those who say no to us rather than being understanding of their busy world and respecting their decision.

Over the past couple months I have made a point to say no every now and again, and after a few practice rounds I can tell you it has been amazing. Not only do I feel happier and more relaxed, but when I do say yes to others I actually mean it. My yes’s have become more genuine, and I have more energy to engage myself in whatever ‘yes’ it is that I am focusing on. I no longer feel guilty when I say no because I know that by saying no to others, I am saying yes to myself, and I value my own self worth. I listen to my body when it tells me to take a break, and by doing so it has made me a better person to those around me. Therefore, by saying no I truly am working on being a better person for those times that I agree and say yes.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a constant people pleaser whether in regards to my work life or my friends. It is something I continue to work on, and I know a few coworkers who would argue that I still give way too much! But it is all about baby steps, so I would challenge you to start somewhere too. Here is an example….
A few weeks ago I started to play the piano again. It has been years since I have played piano but often times I told myself I wanted to. However, I let work and other obligations that I constantly said yes to to get in the way of doing what I wanted to do, literally for the past few years. So in order to practice saying no, I took time one day to sit down at my keyboard and start playing. I told myself to just give it 20 minutes of my day and take a break from other obligations I prioritized. I ended up spending hours playing the piano that day, and I haven’t stopped since. It was then that I realized that other obligations were not as important as me enjoying myself that day.
Before  that day I would have said I was too busy, that I didn’t have enough time. But now, I miraculously have found time for music again, and it’s because I make the time. I prioritize the time. I value the time…My time. And you know what else? It has made me so happy! Music is a great release for me, it’s a great distraction, and it’s something I am passionate about. I had completely forgotten how it made me feel to play and sing.
We should never give up the things we love. Make time for them by saying no, you Yes Person you!

Last question: How many times have you taken on an extra shift at work, or spent time helping a friend move that it didn’t negatively affect you in some way? Now, I am not saying to never do those things because we all enjoy being good people and helping out now and again. But it is important to remember that by taking on too many of these things, we are not the only one who suffers. Those around us suffer too…..
Typically, we become too exhausted at work to give clients, customers, and patients our upmost respect and attention. Typically, we become so burnt out that spending time doing the things we love fall to the side which affects our mental health and happiness. How can we be providing the best service to those we work with and  be good friends if we are always tired and suffering? We take on extra things trying to be helpful, but with time it actually is a disservice to everybody around us because we are not our best, genuine selves.

So again, I challenge you to take baby steps…. Say no to that extra shift, and say yes to spending that time spoiling yourself.  Even if it’s ten minutes a day, start somewhere. Devote this time to an old hobby, or something new you want to learn or try. Those ten minutes can even be ten minutes of quiet time by yourself. You name it, you can do it when you practice saying no. You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no!

~ No is a complete sentence, it does not require justification or explanation. 

-keeping shining

 

 

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