Hi, my name is Nicole and I’m a new communications intern here at loveisrespect.org. I’m so excited about this position because not only will I be posting to this blog and our Twitter account (follow us @loveisrespect), but I’ll also be chatting and taking calls for loveisrespect. Joining the team has given me the means to empower teens to know what they deserve in a healthy relationship.
But first, there was training.
Before I get to take any phone calls or chats, I’ve been going through the 40 hours of training to educate myself about how to best help callers and chatters create healthy relationships. We were asked some really difficult questions, like who can a teen talk to about her relationship without being outcast by her friends or getting in trouble by her parents?
I was worried we wouldn’t be able to answer these questions and that when I got a call or chat with a teen in trouble, I wouldn’t know how to help. Fortunately, we learned that every situation is different and there is never just one right answer.
The biggest binder that ever lived.
To help us keep track of everything we’ve learned, the training team gave us each a four-inch binder to hold all of the information (mine is so heavy I keep dropping it and spilling paper on the floor wherever I go.) To help us find solutions to teen’s questions, we can brainstorm ideas together about what we can do to keep teens ha ppy and healthy.
We learned a lot of questions to ask callers and chatters to get a better idea of the situation, like where would you like to see this relationship end up in the future and how are you taking care of yourself? Starting with questions like these gives both me and the caller room to come up with ideas about what might work best to have the healthiest relationship possible.
If you don’t love yourself, how are you going to love somebody else?
My favorite part about training has been the focus on self-wellness. I usually focus all of my attention on making sure that others are happy and healthy, which sometimes sacrifices my own health and happiness.
On my second day of training we did an arts-n-crafts activity to illustrate our personal wellness. I drew a stick-figure portrait of myself with arrows pointing to things that make me happy and keep me healthy, like my family and friends, tasty snacks and shopping.
Now it’s stuck in my head.
Training has given me a lot to think about in my time away from work. What do I want my relationships to look like? What is my support system like at home? Am I a supportive friend if someone I know is struggling in their relationship? I’ve also been looking more closely at relationships on television to see how they are portrayed.
It’s important to think critically about the messages media demonstrates, especially about relationships. Communicating with friends and family about the relationships you see on TV is a great way to open a conversation about your own relationships. Being a supportive friend and having a strong support system is a big step towards being happy and healthy and feeling empowered that you can do anything.
Want to talk about how to form your own support system? Chat or call us at 1-866-331-9474 to talk to a trained peer advocate about your relationship.