welcome to the danger zone

Unconditional Love and Acceptance – it’s not as easy as you think.

I’ll be the first to say I can be a little judgmental. Okay, well maybe a tad bit more than a little. But I can also be incredibly empathetic. I’ve been struggling the last few days. I’ve heard people say things that make my skin crawl, and I’ve struggled with taking a stand or sitting silent for the sake of making it through the next 12 weeks. I am not so sure which is the better path, but right now I am taking the sit silently and allow the comments to be understood as what they are: fear of something not understood. I am trying to remind myself that a lack of knowledge and a lack of self confidence are what drive us to say things that are inappropriate or scandalous, and I have been there once or twice, or perhaps more. We all have a need to be liked, and considered important. Some of us measure ourselves against others, or rather all of us do. We are all afraid people will see our shortcomings and judge us inferior, and we play a ridiculous game of trying to meet a ridiculous standard of others instead of being who we are. When someone is authentic to who they want to be, we call them strange, or eccentric, or some other derogatory term. We put others down to feel good about who we are.

Here’s the thing: I don’t want to be that person. I don’t like that quality in myself, I don’t like it in others. I do it more often that I wish. So lately, I’ve been trying to see the abrasiveness, the obnoxious behavior and attitudes of others as their shield, their way of being safe, and maybe if I don’t seem threatening, they may feel safe and let that behavior go. If they don’t, it’s not my job to change them, it’s my job to be the best me I can. I have to “love” others as they are, I have to avoid labelling them because I don’t know where they’ve come from or what they have experience. BUT DAMN IT, IT IS HARD!!!

No, that’s a lie..it’s exhausting. I mean, I feel good that I am at least trying, but it wipes me out. I have to constantly remind myself that I am who I am because I’ve faced challenges, I’ve looked closely and critically at myself, and I’m not perfect myself. (Whoa, did I just type that?) I am who I am, because I’ve learned to be me along the way, and I’m nowhere near done with that learning and growing process.

On thing I am struggling with is the belief sets, the intention and the motivation of other people I am meeting in my line of work. I don’t understand why anyone would enter the social service field, and particularly my new line of work, if you aren’t passionate about it. And why is there no ethics training in our training curriculum – something that is clearly an oversight. I am not so sure everyone I will find myself working with has a moral code similar to mine, or awareness that our work is measured in small success, and not everyone you meet will be the worst person in the world. I don’t want to get specific about what I have seen and heard over the last few days, but I will say, that if you aren’t in CYS because you truly care about making things more livable for families, then get the hell out. Your bitterness, attitudes, and actions are more damaging than your body is helpful. This is frustrating the hell out of me. I want to shout “why did you take this job if it making you so unhappy?” It can’t be good for the kids or the families we help.

I get that this is hard work, and I also get that sometimes you have to make light of a situation to deal with it. This job will never be fun, but if you are so unhappy, especially when you haven’t been doing the job very long, get out. Make it better for all of us, especially the families.

But like I said, I am exhausted. Training was long and unbearable today. Tomorrow promises more of the same, but with a deadly snowy ride added. And to add insult to injury, my son is presently devouring a gianormous burrito somwhere in California. But in the end, life is still pretty good: I have great neighbors, I have clothes and shoes, and a fridge with food. I have a lot to be thanful for, and I am, because I remember not so long ago everything was falling to pieces. It’s not perfect but it’s a lot better now. And that’s a good thing.

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