Social Work Struggles

I returned to work on Monday. One week post-op. No real issues in that department. What I am sad about is that some people at my job tell me I’m too invested. This really irritates the living daylights out of me! We live in a culture that is very self-centered. Everyone’s main focus is on themselves.

I think if people spend a little more time being selfless instead of selfish, our society would function just a little better. I am all about self-care and being self full, but there has to be a balance. I hate when another social worker tells me I’m too invested in my clients, because that doesn’t seem like a very social worky thing to say. I thought that was the whole point of my job, to actually give a crap.

I think every therapist or in any line of work people have their favorite clients/patients/whatever. I definitely have mine, but I’ve also been told by my peers that while they know I have my favorite inmates they do not see me give them any special favoritism. I appreciate that feedback, I try to treat everyone equally and work equally as hard for all my clients. As a social worker, and more importantly, as a human we form attachments to people.

Forming bonds are so rare and special. People share things with me that I’m sure they have never shared with another person in their lives. I’m also positive that people flat-out lie to my face. Everyone has a story. Everyone has trauma. Everyone is a human. In my job specifically, I think the inmates are frequently seen as just that: an inmate, a criminal. It’s not always so black and white.

It surprises me that in 2015, we are still thinking with such rigid judgments on people, myself included. There are several inmates I would gladly take home. I tell the majority of my co-workers I want to take inmates home. However, I do have good boundaries and haven’t and won’t do that. But there are people in there that are funny, charming, smart, kind-hearted and absolutely worthwhile. There are some that I think exactly the opposite of. Regardless of my opinions or anyone else’s we are all people. We are all searching for the same things in life: love and acceptance.

There are several people at the jail, that if it weren’t for the guidelines of my job, if I would have met them outside of jail I probably would have been friends with them. We forget how easily any one of us could be inside a jail for making a mistake. Some choose to make worse mistakes than others, but some people are stuck in a system that is difficult to get out of.

Basically, I’m irritated that people tell me I care too much. What does that even mean? Why is that a bad thing? I can tell you I will NEVER change that. That doesn’t mean I have poor boundaries. That doesn’t mean I’m not good at my job. That doesn’t mean I coddle inmates. That doesn’t mean that I need to work on my self-care or be involved in my own therapy to sort it out. I care because in my heart I feel that it’s the right thing to do. I care because too many people don’t give a s**t about anyone or anything. I care because I believe it in my heart and soul to be a positive thing. It gives me hope to care, because the world can be a cruel place. I also know I am not alone in my thinking and am so saddened that we live in a society where caring is viewed as a flaw that needs to be fixed. I refuse to accept that. I refuse to change my heart. I refuse to give up on people that everyone else wants to throw away.

At the end of my life, I want to know I gave every ounce of my soul to helping and loving others. Showing emotions is a strength. We need to be more open and accepting of that. I have always had a tender heart and used to feel that I needed to change that. As I got older I have learned to embrace it and am so proud that in a society where it isn’t easy to be sensitive, I am not afraid to be me. I can be a henious b***h, don’t get me wrong. I will always stand up for what is right. Maybe if we took an extra moment each day to be a little kinder, to be less judgmental, to embrace our own emotions we could really make some major positive changes. Just maybe we could each give a little bit more…

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