SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

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Tag: mindfulness (page 1 of 7)

Hard is Hard

I do not know a single person who has not been through a hard time in their life. In fact, most everyone I know has had several difficult situations they would qualify as being hard…It’s human, it’s expected, and hard is going to continue entering into our lives. Yet we overlook everyone’s hard because we hear it so often…It’s kind of like when someone asks how you’re doing (“good, you?”, “good.”). It fascinates me that we reach out to people to help us through the hard times, but we do not put ourselves in others’ shoes when they ask for our help. We skate over their hard so we can quickly compare our struggles to theirs, or judge how they’re handling their hard, therefore we do not try to understand their struggle. We judge the level of difficulty they’re “actually” facing, and how we would handle that situation differently without truly thinking about how that must feel for them…This is so unfair.
We cannot judge or assess what someone’s hard is. It is impossible for us to determine what should or should not be difficult, and what we would do in that situation. Or if we would be responding in the same way to their hard as they are. It’s like if I asked you to rate the following life situations from most hard to least hard:
-Filing bankruptcy
-Losing a job
-Getting a divorce
-The death of a loved one
-Telling your family for the first time you identify as LGBTQIA+
-Getting an injury that impacts your long-term health
-Being raised in the foster care system
-Getting evicted
-Finding out you’ve been cheated on
-Trying to lose 100 pounds
I would imagine for most people, it would be impossible to rate this list. And if you are able to rate this list, your list would be different than my list. The point is, we cannot determine who’s hard is more hard, or how our hard compares to their hard.
I see this happen often my field of work where a professional compares how they would handle a situation to the individual we are working with. The way I challenge this is to remind the professional that even if you and I went through the EXACT same situation, we are going to respond, process, and heal differently. Due to our current state of mental health, our environment, past trauma, life experiences, and our support system, we will all behave and respond differently, and that is OKAY. That is NORMAL. Until we are in that person’s brain and have experienced exactly what they’ve experienced throughout life, we cannot comment on how we would handle this or how hard that was.
Sometimes the perception is once someone gets through the hard, they will become a better person and there will be positive that comes from the experience… That at the end of every hard time there is a rainbow for everyone, and that everything will turn out okay. But some people never feel they can escape their hard moments, and for those people life never does seem to get easier or be okay. And for others who seem to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, it’s hard to understand those who can’t. I’ve mentioned before in A Letter To Yourself that we expect people to adopt the pull-yourselves-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality, but what if they don’t have any boots? Then what? Typically, we make a quick judgement of their predicament rather than simply understand and support their hard time. We can just support people and not make assumptions or compare our hard, because we can’t. We all go through sh*t, we all get through it differently, and we all have our own powerful story to tell. That is the beauty. Beauty does not come from the judgement we place on others for their hard times. It comes in the way we can truly put ourselves in their shoes, be compassionate, try to understand, and be present as we would want from them. The beauty comes from the love we give people in those hard times, and the ability to learn and grow through the hard.
I have learned through my job is that it is not helpful to tell someone, “I know exactly what you’re going through”, because you experienced something similar. This statement is untrue, and I hear this all the time. Sure, we can relate to someone, but we cannot understand exactly how they’re doing, how they should react, what they need, and how they feel just because we went through something similar…Since we have all experienced hard, we can still be there for one another simply because we know what it feels like to be having a tough time with life at the moment.
I think this mentality is just as easily adaptable to how we view ourselves during difficult times. Man, ease up! We judge ourselves just as harshly as we judge others…We regret how we handle things, get upset with ourselves when we aren’t as resilient as we would like to be, and try to move past the hard rather than let ourselves accept that we are having a tough time. It’s okay to be struggling, we do not need to be so dang hard on ourselves. Remember that we are all going through it, we cannot predict our lives or always choose the cards we are dealt, but we can surrender to the hard times and accept them for what they are. We are all just doing the best we know how in that moment with where we are in life and what we’ve been given. We can love and accept ourselves, even through the times we struggle to find who we are.
Moral of the story is…my hard is no better or worse or difficult or easy or predictable or frustrating or bigger or simpler or confusing than your hard. We all have hard, and we can lean on each other too if we choose to remove the judgement and help each other through it in a pure and loving way. Life is going to throw curve balls which will include some difficulty. It’s who you are in those hard moments for yourself and others that can define who you want to be.

It’s not just your life, it’s life. Life is bigger than you. Life isn’t something you possess, it’s something you take part in and you witness.

-keep shining

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Happy Things Thursday

  1. Having friends at work
  2. The feeling of accomplishment after an outdoor run
  3. Watching people enjoy a meal you cooked for them
  4. Drinking a cup of coffee before starting the day
  5. Putting on new, not worn socks
  6. Finishing a long overdue house project *sigh of relief*
  7. The first ‘it’s-finally-nice-enough-outside-to open-my-windows’ day of spring.
  8. Starting a new Netflix series
  9. Washing your hands with a good smelling soap
  10. Face Time chats with family and friends

Happy Things Thursday

  1. When the sun stays out past 7 pm
  2. The smell of your favorite coffee shop
  3. Waking up without an alarm
  4. Perusing through old photo albums
  5. Reading a book in bed
  6. Leaving a hefty tip for a good waiter/waitress
  7. Sleeping on clean sheets
  8. Long lunch breaks
  9. Discovering a new hobby
  10. Afternoon naps

Remember…

  • Your thoughts create your experiences
  • Let go of situations in your life that no longer serve a positive purpose
  • Be a good friend
  • You are courageous
  • Push aside beliefs that have control over your life
  • You are stronger than you realize
  • With change and setbacks comes opportunity and growth
  • Everything will be okay
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Stop and smell the roses
  • If you remove your fear you remove your suffering
  • Surround yourself with those that want you to grow
  • Follow happiness
  • Do not accept others’ definition of your life
  • You are loved

-keep shining

Think New Thoughts

Where does fear come from?…
.
.
.
…Past experiences, regret, hurting others, loneliness, trauma, not adhering to cultural and social norms…
The list is never ending. Fear can be the reason for staying in a stagnant relationship, not speaking up against something that isn’t right, or staying at a crumby job. The fear of going against what we know, going against people’s expectations of us, and being different is what keeps us stuck in fear-based thinking. Everything we do is decided with either love or fear.

Believe it or not, fear can dissipate when you think new thoughts you’ve never thought about before. And change comes from thinking those new thoughts and acting on them. I know this concept terrifies people because we want to hold onto what we know, what is easy, and what doesn’t rock the boat. But the downside to that mentality is our own desires, goals, dreams, and independence suffer because we are scared. What we forget to realize is that letting go of this fear is easier than holding on. It’s when we let go and think new thoughts that the new stuff will find us.

When we are so used to acting a certain way, having a certain job, being around certain people, etc. we get used to it. We get so used to having these things in our lives that we do not think about it much. We are fearful of letting go because we hoard fears of not being able to replace those things, or fear that its replacement is not any better than what we gave up. And it completely makes sense that this is a terrifying, debilitating thought. We put more value on avoiding a possibility of regret than we do on living life. But if we are not getting what we want out of life, if we are not happy…Why not make some changes? What is there to really even be fearful of? We cannot make room for new things, new perspectives, and new experiences until we clear out what is not serving us. This is where we gain clarity; when we get rid of thoughts that do not have a place anymore. This does not mean the things we get rid of are not special, important, or at one point exactly what we wanted or needed…It just means we are moving on, moving forward, and honoring our feelings and our truth.
(To read more about avoiding feelings, click here.)

We all know on a deep level what it is we want and what’s missing, but we feel safe when we hoard fearful thoughts. We don’t even know what we want because we are too scared to even think about it. Those fearful thoughts (or avoidance of those thoughts) give us excuses to stay in our comfort zone and be bored. Often times that feels better than uprooting pieces of our lives or hurting people. But harboring fear and accepting boredom prevents us from all of the new things that await for us to arrive. There is so much we can learn and experience in this life when we remove fear. And do you want to know the best part? All of those things are all possible. Everything we want is on the other side of fear. Fear is just a state of mind. Our fears create barriers because most of the time facing our fears is actually bigger than the fears themselves. We just get in our own heads. We are our own biggest roadblock to the love and happiness we want to experience.

We create our own prison. We fear so much that we build walls for protection, but ultimately those walls are a huge detriment to our sole purpose here on earth; to experience it. It’s when we remove those walls, start being honest with ourselves, and get through the fearful stuff that we end up on the other side. It’s on the other side that we find ourselves, we speak our truth, we are complete, and we are happy. On the other side of fear is where we find everything we ever wanted. Do not let fear create your future.

We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are ~

-keep shining
Other related blogs : A Letter To Yourself, Guilt, Honoring Your Uniqueness

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