"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
--Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
In social work, we see ourselves and clients through the lens of "Person-in-Environment." That is, human behavior is a function of the social environment. There is a bi-directional (a give and take, influence and influenced by) relationship between us and the people and places that make up our world.
That's why our first efforts are aimed at changing the environment to create a better fit between person and environment. Sometimes efforts to change institutions, policies, communities and other externals are not enough. Sometimes we gotta change ourselves too. There is no ideal place or person - simply goodness of fit.
External barriers can be knocked down but we may still choose imprisonment - it can seem safer than the power and responsibility of freedom. The oppression we have lived under can seep in and become our own thoughts and beliefs - oppression internalized.
Changing ourselves may mean getting stronger (challenging our own limiting thoughts & beliefs) and becoming more hopeful and optimistic in order to manifest our hearts desire. It may mean redoubling our efforts or it may mean overcoming our fears of taking risks.
This post is purposefully vague and abstract. It may make sense in relation to your work, love or other relationships and/or situations.
“If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you
think about it. ”
― Mary Engelbreit
If all else has failed, then try something different. Scary, I know. Being stuck or making progress? It can feel like an impossible choice when something important has to be lost (title, position, money, or significant other) for something important to be gained (your own life & soul).
I have reached an age where I don't have any answers. Thinking, curiosity, reflection, hope, faith and optimism are what I've got. I have a nagging suspicion that everything is gonna be okay. I'll keep you posted. It's gonna be a good story.
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