I have been in social services for almost 10 years and in these 10 years I seen and experienced a lot. I have gotten to meet many people through the years. Many I was able to help but more importantly there were many that taught me life lessons. I think of the man who taught me how to be present and actively listen rather than think of the next thing I am going to say or do I think of the individuals who have worked so hard to get ahead but life keeps hitting them with hard moments. But they chose to continue working towards their goals and not allow life circumstances to determine their direction of their life.
As I continued to work in social services, I became jaded. Webster’s dictionary defines jaded as: fatigued by overwork or made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience or by having or seeing too much of something. And I almost wore this jaded filter as a badge of honor. I thought it was okay to view my clients that I worked with through this jaded filter. In some ways, I thought I was being wise when I looked at my clients with this jaded filter. I remember telling a coworker that I can tell she is early on in her career because of the hope and optimism that she has in a situation with a client.
I was on the way to work one morning and someone was talking on the radio about people who are jaded. And how this jaded filter is not something that we should have. It caught me by surprise but the more I thought about it, I realized this person was right.
I believe that every decision and belief have reactions with they good, bad or both. And having the jaded filter has reactions in our lives and the lives of those around us. The problem with being jaded especially in social services, you are indirectly telling that person they are going to fail with what ever they are working towards. And being jaded causes you to be cynical rather hopeful not only in the lives of our clients but also in our own lives. Being jaded also has you always looking for the worst in a person or you have the belief that the person will never change.
I think often we adapt this jaded filter because it “protects” us from being hurt or vulnerable with others. Another thing that happens when you have a jaded filter for a long time is that you quit dreaming for yourself and others. This keeps most of our relationships more at a surface level and we miss the blessing that can comes from being willing to walk beside someone in their journey.
And the last affect that the jaded filter has, we are deciding the future for the person from our point of view. We are believing what society, life circumstances or labels say about someone rather than what God says about them and who they are.
When in relationships with people, we need to be wise but we also need to be willing to get vulnerable and show them that their journey matters to us and more importantly to God. And live in a way that others see that the belief that no one is too far gone and that they can be redeemed by God. And they can live in the blessings that God has for them. We are called to build relationships with others and God, walk the journey with them and believe in others even when they do not believe in themselves.
So have you become jaded? If so what is being jaded costing you and those around you?