The Key to Happiness is Gratitude: Leslie Clark, LCSW
“Everyone has value and importance.”
Leslie first started to understand and recognize her sexuality when she was in high school, and describes a ‘crush’ that she had that she didn’t realize was a crush until looking back. When Leslie was in high school, one of the teachers and volleyball coaches at her school came out as lesbian and was fired. She says, “Back then, the message I got was: ‘It is not ok to be gay’.”
As Leslie got older, she started to question herself and God, wondering if she truly deserved to live. “I was very embarrassed about it at the time," she says. She didn’t see a lot of potential within herself and didn’t really have any dreams. After someone pointed that out to her, she decided to make a change. She started running, went back to school, read books, and even ran two half marathons. She now fully believes that she deserves to feel happy, and that she deserves to love herself.
“I found this quote that said: ‘If I asked you name all of the things that you love, how long would it take you to name yourself'--And that kind of rocked me.”
In the past, Leslie says it would have taken her a long time to put herself on that list, but now, she is proudly on it.
Working with female survivors of trauma, kids in juvenile justice, and families in hospitals has made Leslie recognize the human experience in a different way. One of her favorite quotes reads: ‘If our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how different our experiences would be.’ Leslie feels grateful that she is able to hold space with her clients in their most vulnerable times, that she sees their souls and sees the good in them. “There is so much joy in my work!”
Leslie has found that the key to happiness is gratitude. She has found this through research reading different things, learning it through other people, and her own experiences. “When a person is grateful,” she says, “it has the power to change perspective”.
What does Leslie want others to know who are in similar walks of life?
“Find what brings you joy and run with it.”
Leslie says that there are people to reach out to and places to go where you can be you.“Wherever you are, find that safe place in your community, where you can be yourself and not be judged.”
“Everyone has value and importance, and I want everyone to know that they are worth something; that they have value; that they have a voice; and that they have something to share with the world.”
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Leslie Clark is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She earned a Master of Social Work Degree at The University of Utah, and a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Social Work emphasis at Utah Valley University. Leslie currently works at The Younique Foundation, a nonprofit organization. She is privileged to work with powerful and inspiring women who have survived trauma. Prior to this, she worked with teenagers in the Juvenile Justice System, and at the University of Utah Hospital on the trauma unit. Through this work, she has had the opportunity to learn from those experiencing both acute and chronic distress.
Leslie has experience working with lesbian, gay, and transgender populations. She is also an advocate for human rights and overall equality. Being a calming presence to assist others in finding peace is something she takes pride in. Leslie is passionate about meditation and mindfulness. She believes in learning to be in control of one’s own emotional and physical health through awareness and self-compassion. The resilience and strength of human beings as they navigate their individual circumstances is a constant source of inspiration for her. In her free time, Leslie enjoys a good outdoor concert or symphony, hiking, muay thai, water sports, snowboarding, hot yoga, traveling, sunsets, and most of all, the ocean.