Month: July 2015

How resilient are you in the face of life’s trials?

I can and I will

This is a question I have had to answer in this past week. How resilient am I in the face of life’s trials? How do I cope when there is a storm in my life? How does anyone cope? I reached out to my cousin who is one of my confidantes and she reminded me that in writing about my feelings, I usually find an escape from whatever might be bothering me. So here goes…

I recall a previous blog post that I wrote early last year, The Storms in my life where I spoke about how each storm or trouble we encounter has a purpose…everything happens for a reason. Yes we all know this, but when you are right in the middle of a storm, hearing these words is not always immediately comforting. When something happens to you so suddenly that you don’t get a chance to prepare for it, it literally takes the wind out of your sails. You are in a state of shock, disbelief and even denial and nothing penetrates the rational area of the brain to get you to understand why it might be happening.

Such is life…but now what? How do you bounce back?…that’s what I want to know. When speaking about it doesn’t make it better, when crying no longer works (and I am not a crier by the way) and when you just cannot face the prospect of another day like the one you just had that was so bleak…how do you bounce back?

Someone who is resilient has the ability to withstand and recover quickly from a difficult condition(wikipedia). A resilient object is able to spring back or recoil after bending. The second definition is more apt at describing the state that I am speaking about. When you have been bent by life, thrown around and made to fall on your knees, can you bounce back and stand upright again? If I can then I can add “resilient” to my list of characteristics.

I want to be resilient. I want to overcome life’s trials. I want to smile and live life to the fullest. There will be trials always but what matters is our ability to bounce back, get our joy back. It is not about who hurt you or who betrayed your trust. They made their choice. Now the choice is mine and yours to decide to bounce back….

It will be done.

The Social Work Dilemma

I haven’t practized social work in almost a year now. I realized only in the practical sense have I not practized but in principle I never stopped being a social worker.

Reminiscing on my days in the social work office
Reminiscing on my days in the social work office

It is when you are having normal day-to-day conversations with friends and significant others that you realize there are certain things that have become instilled in you due to the work you do. You do these things even when you are not in a work setting. It’s like when people say lawyers like to argue…they do this even when they are not in court. It becomes their lifestyle to argue every point even when discussing general issues. In the same way, I realized the social worker in me did not switch off when I left the profession about a year ago. I still think and talk like a social worker. And I have found, to my dismay that this is not always a good thing.

Scenario 1: I am having a normal conversation with my mother and I find myself not agreeing with what she is saying. Instead of supporting my point of view properly like her daughter, I start psycho-analyzing her. I start wondering why she might be taking that stance instead of the other. Quickly in my head I am calculating how I can question her to get the right answers as if I am in a counselling session. Ask questions that will make her show me the deeper thoughts behind whatever statement she makes. This is no longer a normal mother-daughter conversation. It is now a client-social worker dialogue. The formal tone and line of questioning is enough to make anyone defensive.

Scenario 2:  I am discussing a problem a friend might be having, I switch into social work mode. I start thinking every quandary has a solution and it is the role of the client (my friend) to think of all available options before selecting the desired solution…with my help of course. In a way, I think my friends appreciate the advice at the end of the day but am I really being a friend or I am treating them as clients? I doubt they care or see the difference as long as they leave with a solution. This is when I realized not so long ago that I actually give good relationship advice (just wish I could take the same advice myself).  But where do you draw the line because at times our friends just want to vent and do not necessarily want to be grilled until they solve the issue.

So yes I cannot erase or silence the social worker in me. I want to be a good friend and daughter but I need to learn to balance the professional voice with my own. The two have become so mixed that I can’t tell which one is me and which one is the professional.  I don’t think I want to change totally, because in principle social workers are really cool people (I have to say that!!!). I like being helpful to my friends and family but do they enjoy being treated as clients? On the other hand, I also feel that the people I care about deserve to talk to me as I am, not wearing the professional mask on.

I really should learn to just be myself…but social work is my life so I don’t know how I can separate the two.

What are your thoughts?