Home > Life, social work > Trust me.

Trust me.

March is Social Work Month. Since March 1st, my supervisor regularly engages my department in acknowledging our accomplishments and the achievements of social workers at large. I like that she does this for us. I even jumped in on the Social Work Month planning committee in February. But since March came, I couldn’t find any deep thoughts or feelings about Social Work Month. Look, I’m proud to be a social worker and I want to contribute to the advancement of my profession, but I feel like I’m too engulfed by the hurricane that is social to reflect on what this month represents for social workers and others looking in.

Today, however, an interaction with client left me wondering what it is about me that lets me do so well as a social worker. I don’t think it’s my work ethic or critical thinking skills. I think it’s just because people trust me. They trust me quickly. I don’t know why. I can’t say it’s something I say or do. Maybe it’s because I look like a kid and my voice is so child-like. I just don’t know what it is, but I have it. So often, I am grateful for this quality, this thing that lets people feel like it’s OK to let me in their world. It’s humbling and awe-inspiring. It makes me feel connected. Other times, though, it terrifies me. When someone is ready to include me in their life without question, there are moments when it feels too heavy. I’m not ready to be important to someone. I can feel the space around me close in and all I want is to be invisible and unimportant. I want to be forgettable. I’m not prepared to be needed.

When I step back, I think this is a pretty self-centered reaction. My clients existed long before me and will keep going well after I exit their lives. All that is happening is that a relationship is growing. I just need to keep an open heart and allow that bond to develop. I can do my best to make sure we don’t cross lines and hurt each other, but as long as I remain genuine and direct, we can learn from any missteps.

There is a part of me that wants to be reliable at all costs. If I mess up, I want to show that I care about finding a resolution. Maybe that’s what people see. I guess I don’t need to know what exactly makes people trust me; I just need to protect that little pocket where people feel safe to be vulnerable.

I think I can do that. And if I find that I can’t, I will revert to my back-up career as kitten organizer.

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  1. March 12, 2015 at 10:41

    I’m not even a Social Worker and I really get this — for me it’s a conundrum and a constant balance of self-care and other care. March feels hard in both regards. Overall I feel blessed and am grateful that people trust me, but at times it feels like more of a task than I can manage.

    • March 12, 2015 at 18:08

      Yep, some people just have “it.” I think when we’re feeling stretched and approached by someone we might not lean on ourselves, the confiding seems unmanageable. I think it’s less burdensome in more balanced relationships.

      I hope you find a little peace here and there this month. You deserve it.

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