Today marks the start of the seventh week of placement, and I figured it’d be helpful to pen down some of my thoughts here hmm.

The past 7 weeks haven’t been easy – I’ve been challenged in all aspects, times are hard, they haven’t been the easiest yet, and I keep falling back into the cycle of self doubt & uncertainty of capabilities. I’ve treaded through the darkest paths, and while I’m able to come out of it, all it takes is just one tiny push to relapse all over again. I get it, it’s all about learning & the curve is steep, it’s about being pushed to our limits & realising they are way further than you thought. But what if you’re pushed during the times when you’re standing at the edge? What happens then?

And yet, while being clouded with all these unhelpful thoughts (lol), placement seminar today helped clear my mind slightly:

I used to think that I am very open with my values, my beliefs & my opinions. But am I really? Getting people to be at their most vulnerable – that’s what we do, don’t we? To get them to be vulnerable enough to share their honest thoughts, and that’s where the change process kicks in. That’s where we connect with them, we intervene, that’s where we progress along the helping process. But who are we to ask for the trust of people to be vulnerable in front of us, when we can’t even be open, vulnerable & honest with ourselves? There’s just so much room for improvement.

Something that we always worry about is whether there’s a goodness of fit between us & our jobs as Social Workers. But if there doesn’t seem to be a good fit – what’s causing the discrepancies? Is this where we say, “perhaps I’m not cut out for this profession?” No. At times when we are at the lowest, when we wonder what’s our purpose in this, when we doubt we’re able to live up to the “expectations”, when there isn’t this goodness of fit, take the time to examine the situation. What are the factors that causes this misfit? Are you going to work on them, or are you just going to accept them & choose to leave the profession?

“Therapeutic use of self” – something we hear so often in our work. But while we try to increase the fit between us & our jobs, are we merely trying to match ourselves to the role/stereotype of a social worker? What exactly makes a “good” social worker? Are social workers people who seem to have this halo over their heads, able to solve everything & any problems in the world? At this rate, matching ourselves by becoming who we are not – will only lead to the eventual burnout.

& today, we were told to think of who we were, what is our core as a person – de-roled from our selves as Social Workers-to-be. What are our values, abilities, our skills, our beliefs, our life experiences? What can we bring to our profession then? The importance of knowing ourselves as individual persons has always been emphasised. But today, I think I got to find out about myself a little more. To accept my vulnerabilities, to accept my flaws, to embrace my strengths, and to know what I can give.

It’s all about management. Managing our workload, managing client’s expectations, managing agency’s expectations, managing expectations of self. And more often than not, managing the expectations of our selves has always been the hardest – we’re far too harsh & critical of ourselves. Being emotional vs. feeling emotions; feeling compassionate vs. burning out, these are all things that help shape us.

It has been overwhelming, it still is, but with hope I’ll persevere on. Saw this quote in one of the interview rooms at work, and it’s my new mantra so I’ll end my lengthy post with this:

In every heart lies the strength to pull us over the bumpiest trails.

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