One of my early morning epiphanies had to do with something that took place back in November. You can read the full back story on this event here. For the purposes of this post I will give a quick recap.
During group supervision one day.. Let me pause for a second because it just occurred to me most of my readers are not social workers. A quick side note for my non-social workers; supervision is when the entire social work/clinical team comes together to discuss cases, ethical concerns, and all other pressing matters at the agency and that impact our clients.
Okay so at the end of supervision when the clinical team was getting ready to leave our supervisor asked us to stay for a moment longer so she could get something off her chest. She then spent the next 10-15 minutes pretty much berating the team for not being fully committed to the work and our clients. She even went so far as to call some of us entitled. This lecture came without warning, there had been no issues that any of us were aware of at the agency that triggered this. It also came with no explanation or clarification. She made it clear that she was not talking to everyone but what does that matter?
The truth is she was talking to everyone. Literally. Everyone is here. You are talking to all of us. If this message is not meant for everyone then it seems pretty inappropriate that you are sharing it with everyone. If you need to have a private conversation with someone then by all means but right now, you are in fact talking to everyone.
There was a lot about this incident that bothered me. It felt incredibly passive-agressive first of all. If you have something to say then say it, to the person, directly. This whole talking in shadows to the entire group as a way to shame one person into submission did nothing but spew that negative shamey energy all over everyone.
Second was the use of the word entitled. Apparently that word bothers the shit out of me and I did not know this about myself until it was being thrown at all of us from left field.
I have been sitting with that word ever since to explore what exactly it is that bothers me. I have processed some of my feelings in prior posts but this morning I feel like I finally put my finger on it.
That day when my supervisor pulled the rug out from under us in the way she did, I believe she was operating from a place of scarcity. Scarcity has a direct connection to shame which is why we all felt covered in it after supervision that day.
The definition of scarcity is:
noun: scarcity; plural noun: scarcities
the state of being scarce or in short supply; shortage
It is the idea that there is not enough to go around. We all like Brene Brown here right? Right. What does Brene teach us about shame? Shame thrives on the feeling of not enough.
Now lets look at the word entitled, what does that word even mean?
believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment
So that day my supervisor told us a story based in the illusion of scarcity. And followed it with a shame chaser by calling us entitled. As a result here are the messages we received that day in supervision:
Scarcity: What you are doing is not enough.
Shame: You are not worthy/not good enough.
Entitled: You are asking for things you do not deserve.
Here is the thing about shame, there is only one way to balance it: with love. Loving all parts of yourself. Believing that you are worthy. That you are enough, what you have is enough, and what you give is enough.
That is why the word entitled bothered me so much and this whole incident was hurtful. This might be her own truth, but it is not mine.
The work will always be there. There will always be more to do. It will never get done. There is no finish line in social work or pretty much any profession, there is just wrapping up one thing and starting the next.
I give of myself every day while I am with my clients and I know that what I give is enough. That is my truth.
I do not ask for special privileges. I know my worth though and I honor myself the same way I honor my clients, by making myself a priority in my life. I deserve my time and attention as much as any other person in my life. That is my truth.
When you find yourself operating from a place of scarcity and shame I encourage you to look inward and listen. What is your truth in this moment? What voice needs to be heard?
I am grateful that I have been open to having an honest relationship with the parts of myself that have been struggling lately because in doing so they felt heard and as a result they quieted so I was able to hear something else, my truth.