The human experience has shaped us to believe that our external circumstances are markers of our success and it is the perceived gap between where we want to be and where we are now that leaves us feeling disconnected and adrift. So, if life is getting better by every conceivable standard why is it that more people are feeling empty, alone, and depressed?
We are taught at a very early age that we can do everything by ourselves – in fact, we are made to believe that we are invincible, and if we are not where we want to be physically or emotionally we must try harder!
Our nemesis in the care industry is the inability to show our humanness for fear that we may be seen to be incapable, incompetent, or weak. We put on our armour every day and step into our work seemingly protected and unbreakable. This in itself breeds an unrealistic sense of superiority – we pendulate between outer contempt (grandiosity) to inner contempt (shame) and it’s exhausting!
Sadly, it doesn’t take long before we are suffering from compassion fatigue and burnout…
So how do we turn this around? How do we find meaning in the work we do? What support do we need and where do we find it?
Can we safely say that our organizations give us a sense of belonging? Do they meet our mental and emotional needs? Are there safe spaces set up where we are valued for who we are, and where interactions nurture the courage to be vulnerable?
Listening and being listened to help us feel worthy. When people are sharing their problems, unbeknown to them they are already formulating the solutions – they just want someone to appreciate their struggle! A safe platform for expression is an essential service but is rarely available
‘Behind the need to communicate is the need to share, behind the need to share is the need to be understood’ Leo Roston
We have every opportunity in this work to build our inner citadel and strengthen our psychological fortress, but we cannot navigate the currents of life on our own.
We need to have conscious conversations where the only agenda is to share relatable experiences. Ultimately humans are hardwired for connection – when we feel happy we seek to share our excitement with others and in times of pain we seek comfort.
If you do not find support in the wider community it might be worth narrowing your vision and finding an ‘accountability buddy’ or a ‘carers carer’ who sees you hears you and understands you – because in the bigger scheme of things
everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something H.Jackson Brown