We all think we’re going to be great. And we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. But, sometimes, our expectations sell us short. Sometimes, the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected.
You gotta wonder why we cling to our expectations. Because the expected is just what keeps us steady… standing… still. The expected is just the beginning.
The unexpected… is what changes our lives.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m gonna survive the challenge I call myself.
I’m one of those kids who are insanely optimistic and I try very very very hard to keep a positive outlook on things. Looking at the world in a cynical way has proven to have only gotten the best of me, and negativity is one of those things I find that causes everything else to spiral. I’ve spent a good amount of my teenage years growing up in pain and hurt and regret and negativity and pessimism and basically I’m still surprised I’m where I am now.
I’m pretty sure it was a time for me to rebel – against my parents, my teachers, my classmates, and obviously, against myself. Constantly questioning my own self-worth against that of the world, asking myself if I were enough for anyone at all, and then crying because I thought I knew the answer to that and then slowly but surely destroying my self-esteem to a level I thought I could never rebuild again. I hurt people I never expected to hurt, and I felt broken beyond belief. I was ashamed, I was guilty, and I felt like I would never be able to let anyone else in again.
In Social Work most people are bright and happy, because we have and want to be bright and happy. We have to let ourselves embrace this profession that espouses embracing other human beings who can be vastly different in terms of personal values and beliefs, physical attributes and mental capacity, stepping into their shoes and seeing things from a perspective that demands for us to seek the goodness in things. In essence, we have to love them, and before we can love others we must first learn to love ourselves.
On that note, the act of studying social work has changed me in ways I will never be able to measure, and it is constantly changing and refining perspectives in a manner I never thought would be possible. I dwell in the understanding of how broken the world is at 3am in the morning, wondering why I have friends who feel deeply that we cannot let gay people be who as they are (why they even have to see the need to constantly be talking about how being gay is perfectly normal when straight people don’t have to say anything), or why there exist people who capitalize on the misfortune of people, and even why the Internet has bred a community of people who are unforgiving and constantly shame people who have done something wrong publicly (and ironically, are people who support the Yellow Ribbon Project, what a joke). I wake up the next morning, knowing that I have to get up, because I would like to serve people who want second chances and people who are discriminated because of who they love. It’s still pretty surreal how I ended up in social work. It’s also not easy to explain the important changes to my values and beliefs that have been a result of simply being a student of the profession. Post for another day. This paragraph was totally irrelevant maybe. But I have grown and matured a lot as a person simply by training to become a social worker. That it’s always about perspective, to always seek goodness, to always empathise, and to listen more than you speak.
And that is scary, because sometimes it feels like it’s like teaching an old dog new tricks. Even if I am only 22, I have learnt many things before training to be a social worker.. what the world sees of me and how I should be expected to behave, or patterns and distinctions I have already established that I’m not sure if I will be able to break. Can I actually use these things I learnt in my own life? Is that even possible? For me to break out of my old patterns of communication and be able to feature that in my own life and relationships? Much less with clients? Self-doubt keeps creeping in occasionally, and my social worker self often creeps back in telling me, self-doubt is alright. Just pick yourself right back up, you can do it, grades are grades… you will be fine.
And I wonder if I will really be fine.