Confession: I'm not always bright and shiny and energetic and full of tacklehugs. Sometimes I have to be reminded of this the hard way. For all the bouncy and enthusiastic KatieBeth that takes up space in my personality, there's some capacity for deep sadness in there too. That's hard for me to say.
Because of the nature of counseling as a professional endeavor to be exercised in confidence, we often speak frankly in most of my classes, understanding that what is said in that room doesn't leave the room. This can create a very honest atmosphere. And since my classes this semester are psychiatric rehab, group counseling, psychosocial aspects of rehab, and work & disability, there's a lot of honesty and heaviness going around.
Both last night and this afternoon, in class, I struggled with the groupthink that started to develop surrounding negative statements and feelings. Today in work & disability, we explored issues regarding social justice and situational ethics, and my classmates didn't hesitate to talk about what irked them. Last night in psychiatric rehab, the discussion of stigma and statistics and mental illness was explored by the comments of my peers.
Don't get me wrong. Social injustices and poverty and unemployment and disability and misunderstandings and misjudgments are all issues that make my little heart well up with frustration, but frustration will only get me so far. In fact, it mostly just serves to make me visibly upset, like it did in class today, with nowhere to put those feelings except into flushed cheeks and occasional hot tears.
So then what do I do when I feel like we're all so very susceptible to convincingly presented and emotionally wrought information, perpetuating the negativity of hopelessness? I accept that I might actually be more of a cynic than I'd like to admit, but only inasmuch as it spurs me toward movement and action. I'm patient and positive, but I can't handle the kind of pessimism the world wants to hand me sometimes.
But...I haven't yet given up on that whole “change the world” dream. I find joy in briefly exchanged smiles and random acts of kindness and honest conversations and hugs. I think those are the things that change the world...mine at least. Because what is my world except for an assembly of my perceptions of it?
What do you think?