Learn to know yourself...

While journaling this morning, I had an epiphany of sorts, a sudden realisation of another reason why I’m drawn to social care and I want to share it with you.

Journaling is something I do regularly, taking 20-30 minutes several times per week to write out my thoughts, reflect on what’s going on for me and think about the things I could be doing better. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t always feel like I’m benefiting from it and sometimes it ends up becoming a list of what I ‘should’ do!

But today was different. While I was writing about something random, I was hit with a sudden realisation as to why I love working in social care. I always thought it was about helping others, seeking social justice and the amazing relationships that I get to make with people. While all that still stands, I’ve realised that the depth of emotions involved also keeps me interested.

I had a lot of jobs before going into social care work, the types of jobs people do to get through college; retail, hospitality, office work etc, but looking back, they feel so bland and grey in my memories. I went in, did the work and went home, clock watching most days! Rarely was there an emotional moment.

When I think of my work in social care on the other hand, my mind’s eye is filled with the colours of emotion, both comfortable and uncomfortable. The grief of losing a client, the fear for a young person who was missing, the frustration at the snail’s pace of progress sometimes, the anger at witnessing mistreatment of people and the joy and amazement of being able to help people celebrate their milestones and wins and the satisfaction of the small moments. I not only felt my own emotions in these situations but as an empathic person, I was also feeling the emotions of those I was working with.

I think it’s because as a social care worker working in the life space of service users, I was there with them on the good days and the bad, the happy times and the sad. I was present to witness the range of human emotions on display. The emotions that people tend to keep hidden when they’re in the public domain, where many jobs happen. I feel very privileged to have been able to experience this range of emotion alongside the people I worked with and feel like it was in a way an education.

I’ll continue to journal and reflect on my work going forward as it’s proving effective as a tool to know myself.

“Learn to know yourself… to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings” Nelson Mandela