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A Timely Revelation: How an Uber Ride Transformed Life and Work

As the dawn of a new year breaks and spring feels just around the corner, it's almost instinctual to find

ourselves in a reflective state, pondering the aspirations and hopes we hold for ourselves and the world at large. It might sound cliché, but it's a sentiment that rings true for many, including myself.

I am Nicole Gerber, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the beautiful state of Oregon, and for the past few years, I've had the privilege of contributing to the Alpenglow team, focusing on the instruction of the Behavior First Responder. My day-to-day life is deeply entrenched in the world of social work, having navigated various roles from being a school social worker to a hospital social worker, offering support to families during their most trying times.

Throughout my career, I've found myself in environments that demand high emotional regulation and clarity, even amidst chaos. It's been an honor to bear witness to the raw vulnerabilities of individuals, a responsibility that often feels immense. Regardless of our professions, many of us can resonate with the weight of supporting others, whether in leadership, within our families, or among friends.

As societal divides appear to deepen, offering support can become increasingly challenging. When I embarked on my career, I believed that relentless hard work and problem-solving would somehow make things easier and that the world around me would stabilize. Ten years post-graduate school, I find myself confronting the harsh reality of burnout, physical ailments, and a noticeable decline in my mental well-being. The struggle persists despite engaging in self-care, maintaining an active social life, and participating in therapy.

This leads to a critical inquiry: What's amiss? Am I simply not doing enough, or is there a deeper issue at play?

After much reflection, I've come to understand that burnout and the challenge of maintaining a healthy perspective aren't battles I face alone. A chance encounter with an Uber driver over the holidays sparked an enlightening conversation about the world's coexistence of darkness and light. Her words reminded me of the importance of where we choose to focus our attention.

Sun rises over small hills.

This realization hit me profoundly. Despite the adversities and injustices that surround us, there's also an undeniable resilience and kindness in humanity that we must not overlook. It's about finding a balance, allowing ourselves to acknowledge both the dark and the light without diminishing the significance of either.

As we navigate through a world filled with contradictions, it's vital to remember the role our mental health plays in our overall well-being. Simple acts of self-care are beneficial, but how do we sustain our perspective amidst the myriad of challenges?

This year, my resolution is to embrace the uncertainty, to find comfort in the uncomfortable, and to honor both the hardships and the hopeful moments life presents. By doing so, we're not ignoring the pain but choosing also to see the potential for joy and connection.

Adopting an ecological perspective in supporting others offers a holistic view that goes beyond mere behaviors, allowing us to understand the myriad factors that influence individuals' lives. It's about listening deeply, without prejudice or premature conclusions, to truly know and be known.

As we stand at the threshold of another year, I invite you to join me in this journey of shifting perspectives. Let's commit to acknowledging the complexities of life, embracing both the challenges and the triumphs. Together, we can foster a more balanced, understanding, and compassionate world.

Remember, it's not just about surviving the darkness but also about finding ways to cherish the light.

Remember, it's not just about surviving the darkness but also about finding ways to cherish the light.

-This post was contributed by Nicole Gerber, LCSW. Nicole travels and teaches the Behavioral First Responder courses for Alpenglow and also works as a school social worker in Portland, Oregon. She's also an avid skier, foodie, and aunt.

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