Change is… change
What can I say? This is the first post in almost a year and much has occurred since then in the way of my professional and personal development. While I continued working with clients during this time, I was intentional with how much work I took on in relation to prioritizing my self-care, my studies, and my family. Because self-care is important in sustaining us day-to-day, yet it’s especially necessary when moving through a significant life change.
Two years ago, I made a decision to return to school to fulfill a long-time goal of becoming a social worker and therapist. I have been working in the space of body image, embodiment, disordered eating, and joyful movement for nearly a decade. But I recognized I needed to enhance my skills, grow as a professional (and get the credentials) to fully realize my purpose in thoroughly supporting those with eating disorders and other mental health illnesses.
This change brought some challenges… Hello to managing the family schedule, the kids’ extracurricular activities, and being confronted with the troubling impact of my perfectionism!
Conversely, it brought some wonderful gifts as well. Most notably, my school-aged children got to see their mamma thriving in the school environment and going after her dreams.
But who I am is constant
However, throughout it all, I have realized:
- I am more malleable than I thought I was
- Who I am at my core will never change
In my last field placement at school, my supervisor had me take the VIA survey of character strengths. A tool developed by Positive Psychology researchers, this survey provides respondents with an itemized list of their most to least practiced character strengths. The idea being – if you know your strengths you can intentionally draw on them more regularly in life. And drawing on your strengths can help you better manage life’s inevitable changes and difficulties. For me, I discovered my top 5 are:
- Industry, diligence, and perseverance
- Modesty and humility
- Caution, prudence, and discretion
- Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith
While my results were not a surprise to me, they were certainly reaffirming. These traits make up who I am. They are assets, not deficits. And I want to move forward in life acting from my strengths. I captured my top 5 in the above image and made it my phone’s screensaver. Anytime I glance at my phone (which is eh-hem, often), I will be reminded of my strengths. And I will need these reminders because…
I am still on the path
I am still on the path of learning, of growing, of changing. Very soon I will accept my Social Services Worker diploma and become a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (stay tuned for changes to the Define Me services as a result). But, this September, I will continue my formal education at Trent University in pursuing my Bachelors of Social Work.
Learning, growth, change is a lifelong endeavour for me. It is a lifelong reality for all of us. What will you do to leverage YOUR strengths and embrace change?