Life lessons

Redefining Success

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This post is part of The Declaration of You! Blog Lovin’ tour, which I’m participating in along with over 100 other creative bloggers. During the next several weeks, I’ll be posting on various topics that addressed in The Declaration of You!, and I’m so very excited to be a part of this larger community. This week’s theme is “Success”.

When I started out studying psychology, it was with the view to help others. Yes, as clichéd as it sounds, I wanted to be able to help children and particularly adolescents with problems. It was something I realised during my own teenage years. Despite having a lovely family, there were things they probably would never understand. And I wished I had someone objective to talk to. Except, growing up in India, that was not an option. Still it made me see the importance of having people like counsellors or psychologists advocating for young people.

Fast forward three years later: I’d graduated in psychology and started pursuing my masters in Australia. Specialising in children and adolescents. There was still one tiny problem — I wasn’t sure I was cut out for the job. Could I handle listening to difficult life stories? Could I actually manage to help children or adolescents over depression or anxiety or any other behavioural or emotional problem? I didn’t know. But it was too late to back out in any case. I felt though I’d found my niche after my first placement in a school.

But there is a downside to all this.

University, while it is great and essential, makes you set high standards. Standards that may not necessarily be replicated in the real world.

So imagine the shock when despite how well I’d done at university, how well I’d done in my placements the therapeutic techniques didn’t always work! The text books talked about 12 sessions. But in reality, it sometimes took 12 sessions to just engage an adolescent. Then there was the anxiety and stress of having to deal with families who didn’t like me and saw me {read: the system} as the problem when all I wanted to do was help. Then there were clients who would regularly fail to attend appointments. Or those whose problems were so entrenched that nothing seemed to work. And finally, there were those children and adolescents who were dealt the raw end of the stick and were in toxic families with no way out.

You would think this would be enough to make someone leave the profession altogether.

But I realised something had to change.

And one of it was redefining what a successful outcome to therapy was.

Having an adolescent self-harm once a week instead of 5, that is success.

Having a chaotic family call you to cancel an appointment than just not show up, that is success.

Having a child teach a friend relaxation techniques you’ve taught them, that is success.

Having an adolescent quote you back something you told them ages ago, that is success.

Having a sullen teenager smile at you, that is success.

Having a teenager share their art or personal writings with you, that is success.

Having a family think about you in a moment of strife, that is success.

Having children and adolescents regularly attend appointments, that is success.

Having a vulnerable child, adolescent or family trust you enough to allow you to enter their word…that is success.

Sure, the ultimate aim is that people get better. But I have come to realise that sometimes, no one is going to get completely better. And sometimes, it’s the small changes that count as successes. And it is these successes that keep me going and enjoying what I do.

I feel privileged.

Image Source: Here

Image Source: Here

 

So how do you define success in your life?

Do share!!!

The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! – by clicking here.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

 

 

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No Comments

  • Reply
    Whoa, Molly!
    July 11, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    This is a wonderful post. Every little success you mentioned is a huge deal, and it’s great that you realize that holding yourself up to impossible standards helps no one.
    I think you are making a difference in people’s lives, whether you feel that difference is ‘enough’ or not.

    x
    Whoa, Molly! recently posted…The RulesMy Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      July 19, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Thanks Molly…it took a while to change my standards and realise that even small things can make a difference. Glad I got there before I gave up the profession! 🙂

  • Reply
    Whoa, Molly!
    July 11, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    This is a wonderful post. Every little success you mentioned is a huge deal, and it’s great that you realize that holding yourself up to impossible standards helps no one.
    I think you are making a difference in people’s lives, whether you feel that difference is ‘enough’ or not.

    x
    Whoa, Molly! recently posted…The RulesMy Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      July 19, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Thanks Molly…it took a while to change my standards and realise that even small things can make a difference. Glad I got there before I gave up the profession! 🙂

  • Reply
    Vanessa @ babblingbandit.me
    July 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Great post, as always. V.
    Vanessa @ babblingbandit.me recently posted…Everyone deserves a little passionMy Profile

  • Reply
    Vanessa @ babblingbandit.me
    July 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Great post, as always. V.
    Vanessa @ babblingbandit.me recently posted…Everyone deserves a little passionMy Profile

  • Reply
    Avada Kedavra
    July 12, 2013 at 7:32 am

    I love your profession. My mom is a psychology major too and when she starts talking about some mental illness or some medical term, I get so interested. I love listening to her college lab stories etc.
    Avada Kedavra recently posted…Hawaii trip – 1My Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      July 19, 2013 at 8:56 am

      🙂 I love the profession too but sometimes, depending on where you work, people don’t always get ‘better’. And given I work in a secondary mental health service, I can count on my hands the number of people who have reached their therapeutic goals successfully in 3 years. But it needed a rephrase like this to keep me loving the job! 😀

  • Reply
    Avada Kedavra
    July 12, 2013 at 7:32 am

    I love your profession. My mom is a psychology major too and when she starts talking about some mental illness or some medical term, I get so interested. I love listening to her college lab stories etc.
    Avada Kedavra recently posted…Hawaii trip – 1My Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      July 19, 2013 at 8:56 am

      🙂 I love the profession too but sometimes, depending on where you work, people don’t always get ‘better’. And given I work in a secondary mental health service, I can count on my hands the number of people who have reached their therapeutic goals successfully in 3 years. But it needed a rephrase like this to keep me loving the job! 😀

  • Reply
    Jill Winski
    July 13, 2013 at 4:19 am

    I absolutely love this post! I’m a life coach, and so much of what you wrote applies in my work as well. I’ve come to realize I so often don’t even notice things that are actually huge successes because I’m too busy worrying about what I think *should* be happening. Thanks for this awesome reframe.
    Jill Winski recently posted…Allowing your idea of success to change (as you do)My Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      July 19, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Welcome here Jill! It’s those ‘shoulds’ that get us down in the end…as long as we look for the small changes, we will be fine. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jill Winski
    July 13, 2013 at 4:19 am

    I absolutely love this post! I’m a life coach, and so much of what you wrote applies in my work as well. I’ve come to realize I so often don’t even notice things that are actually huge successes because I’m too busy worrying about what I think *should* be happening. Thanks for this awesome reframe.
    Jill Winski recently posted…Allowing your idea of success to change (as you do)My Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      July 19, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Welcome here Jill! It’s those ‘shoulds’ that get us down in the end…as long as we look for the small changes, we will be fine. 🙂

  • Reply
    Vivienne
    July 13, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I enjoyed reading this post. I’m glad you mentioned being unsure about the PG degree you decided on, because now I don’t feel all alone in that 🙂
    Vivienne recently posted…Book Review: The Vanishing Act of Esme LennoxMy Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      July 19, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Oh trust me Vivienne…I so wasn’t sure I was on the right track! And sometimes, I suppose you will not know until you actually do the work. And if it doesn’t feel right, that’s ok too 🙂

  • Reply
    Vivienne
    July 13, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I enjoyed reading this post. I’m glad you mentioned being unsure about the PG degree you decided on, because now I don’t feel all alone in that 🙂
    Vivienne recently posted…Book Review: The Vanishing Act of Esme LennoxMy Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      July 19, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Oh trust me Vivienne…I so wasn’t sure I was on the right track! And sometimes, I suppose you will not know until you actually do the work. And if it doesn’t feel right, that’s ok too 🙂

  • Reply
    Liz
    July 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    “Sure, the ultimate aim is that people get better. But I have come to realise that sometimes, no one is going to get completely better. And sometimes, it’s the small changes that count as successes.”

    Well said. I think that something not a lot of people realize is that not everyone will become completely better. Surrounding me, “better” means better, as in almost well — as in all problems will soon be solved and disappear. And that’s frustrating.

    It’s just nice to know that someone else doesn’t necessarily think that people will always get better.
    Liz recently posted…The Last EssayMy Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      July 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      I remember when I was in my undergrad years I had a debate with a friend about how I didn’t think everyone could get better and she thought I was being too cynical and if I wanted to become a psychologist I should believe that everyone can get better. I wish I could tell her now how things really are. That I wasn’t being cynical but in fact, realistic. And yes, as you say, problems don’t just disappear and not all problems can be solved. People don’t realise that with most mental health issues, managing is the best you can do and even then, you will occasionally slip back. Thanks for visiting Liz! 🙂

  • Reply
    Liz
    July 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    “Sure, the ultimate aim is that people get better. But I have come to realise that sometimes, no one is going to get completely better. And sometimes, it’s the small changes that count as successes.”

    Well said. I think that something not a lot of people realize is that not everyone will become completely better. Surrounding me, “better” means better, as in almost well — as in all problems will soon be solved and disappear. And that’s frustrating.

    It’s just nice to know that someone else doesn’t necessarily think that people will always get better.
    Liz recently posted…The Last EssayMy Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      July 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      I remember when I was in my undergrad years I had a debate with a friend about how I didn’t think everyone could get better and she thought I was being too cynical and if I wanted to become a psychologist I should believe that everyone can get better. I wish I could tell her now how things really are. That I wasn’t being cynical but in fact, realistic. And yes, as you say, problems don’t just disappear and not all problems can be solved. People don’t realise that with most mental health issues, managing is the best you can do and even then, you will occasionally slip back. Thanks for visiting Liz! 🙂

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