So, someone who followed my blog, asked me how I always stay positive and encouraging about a job that is as thankless and unappreciated as social work. I gave her a thoughtful, life altering answer…
I am human, just like the rest of us. I feel the weight as well. Sometimes I feel like there is an elephant sitting on me, crushing me under its weight. I can’t breathe. I wonder if I can make it one more day.
And then I do.
I wrote a poem in my blog: The things I have seen, that I will copy and repost below.
MY PITY PARTY
Even the strongest Beast,
able to carry a mulititude
Of other’s baggage
can Sometimes fall
Beneath the weight.
How tempting it is
To just stay
in the mud
Created by my tears
How easy defeat
Creeps into my every orafice
With the mud
Whispering a siren song
Luring me to the rocks
and drown Out
the warrior’s cry.
So easy to give up.
With strained and mud stained hands
I pull my weary body up
Resting on my elbows
I find my strength
To rise again.
(C) Angela Mcclintock
The social worker who boasts that they never allow the trauma and pain to creep in to their soul is not being honest with themselves. Those that tout they never feel discouraged when they go the extra mile for a family only to be called out for turning in a late purchase order…that person is being less than honest with you.
I occasionally allow myself to take the trip to the pity party, with the knowledge that all I can have is one drink. I cannot pack my bags and stay.
How to I shake out of It?
Self talk is very effective.
I remind myself the following things:
I truly believe in what social workers do.
I believe their work with families and children can be as life saving as a medical profession. Helping a mother addicted to meth get clean and make better life choices could save her life and those of her children.
I am surrounded by self sacrificing people who also believe and look to me to lead them
I am neither the only one who gives their all for this job, nor am I the most important. Sacrifice is a shared experience among this group. It is comforting to know that I am part of a tribe and therefore am not alone in my experience.
I have a very strong peer support group.
The importance of having other leaders who understand and have experienced the same issues at the same level is one of the BEST treatments for a pity party hangover. We listen. We commiserate. We encourage and then we call back to action. In other words: We help each other up.
It is worth it.
At the end of the day, it is all worth it. I can not give up on what I am passionate about no matter how hard the road gets. This is my life’s path so despite the ocassional trips and falls and I am better and more fufilled When I am walking it.
So I pick myself up and carry on.
Here it is. my true confession. I have the ocassional pity party. It proves I am human. But after 30 years, it also proves we can move on and grow from each episode.
It was during one of those times I felt low, that the idea came to me to write a blog of encouragement to other social workers. I knew that social work can be like navigating a desert where the water of encouragement was extremely scarce. I wanted to bring some life refreshing water to those hard working camels to replenish their bucket so they could continue their own journey.