The end of the year is typically a time of reflection. This year has been all about stepping outside my comfort zones and allowing myself to become uncomfortable. It’s been a fantastic year. If my book sells like my t-shirts, I will be on the best seller list for 2019. Thank you all for the love and support!
It’s important to surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself. There is so much yet undiscovered in each of us so do not be afraid to leave your comfort zone. Greatness awaits in 2019!
Therapist note: The new year means nothing if you’re still in love with your comfort zone. Start where you are and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found along the journey we call life. I am learning that success and happiness are not the values you pursue; they are values you develop.
We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. When it’s recognition that makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for the future. Thank you for supporting my dreams. Let’s make a choice to address our mental health, get mentally fit, and reduce the stigma. Check out the link https://michaelgatson.com/
Happy New Year!
This morning I took my nephew to the airport, and while we were in the car, he said: “next year I am going to take Uber to the conference instead of you taking me to and fro.” I smiled on the inside because he is growing up and learning to make decisions for himself, but they will always be my babies. He was nervous about flying this morning, so I helped to check him in, navigating security with him, and walking him to his gate. I remember my first time traveling without my parents or siblings. It was exciting, but also it was anxiety producing as well.
It is important to encourage our youth to make their own decisions because it is necessary on this journey called life. As adults, it is essential to foster our youth to begin decision-making skills in small doses. My sister and I do not see eye to eye on everything, but I am glad that she allows each of her children to be their authentic selves and pursue their passions. I am also grateful that she allows me to be a part of their lives.
I remember my stepdad “Clem” sitting me down at 19 years old and telling me always to remain faithful to yourself. Don’t ever try to conform to society’s expectations or people expectations of you. Receiving this advice from my father was a pivotal moment in my life. To hear him tell me whatever you decide I am going to love and support you no matter what. It was an opportunity for me to make decisions for myself and regardless of my mistakes I made my family would always love and support me.
It is essential to be faithful to self, and if I can assist my babies in any way possible, I am going to make sure I support them regardless if I understand or not. When my nephew Elijah told me about the convention and expressed his interest in attending. I heard the excitement in his voice, and I wanted to do whatever I can to make it happen. Each child is here in this life to be their self. They are not here on earth to be like me or anyone else; they are not here to be as-good-as or better-than me or their siblings, peers or the children of other family members. When we make comparisons, we are telling them they are not as good as someone else. When you compare someone, it has the potential to undermine their motivation and make them feel a lack of their significance and authenticity. There is no comparison. You can only compare someone to themselves, and even then nobody is perfect, and we all have made mistakes in the past. As a society, we need to learn to start using compassion instead of comparing them to someone else or what we think society expectations should be.
As adults (teachers, parents, family members, or members of society) our roles are to teach them what is right from wrong, but it is not our right to tell them who we think they are supposed to be. It is important to realize when you are controlling, manipulating, and pulling them away from their goals, dreams, aspirations, and natural interests. We must allow them to explore their goals and ideas. If we show disgust or disappointment over their choices because they aren’t the choices we would have made; then this is a form of manipulation. For someone to be genuinely happy and thrive in society, we need to live lives that we love, to have a purpose on this journey.
It is unfair to manipulate or control someone because we want to live our lives and all of our unrealized dreams through our children. It is not their responsibility to make up for what we did not accomplish in life or what we are missing in our own personal and professional lives. Your passion is waiting for your courage to show up on your journey.
The family is the most important and valuable gift that God has given us. It is the first lesson in relationships we have with others.
Yesterday, I spent the day with my 89 y/o aunt. She talked to me about growing up the baby in a large family. We also discussed her leaving Louisiana, moving to Arkansas, and how she ended up in Chicago and living with my Auntie Ruby before marrying her husband. We discussed the importance of having family in our lives.
She reminded me that family is your DNA and they are the people who accept you for who you are, who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what. She explained to me that all of her siblings have transitioned and she knew this one would be the most challenging for her, so she has been praying for God to take her through this when the time came when her sister and best friend transitioned. She reminded me that so far he has been holding her up.
I feel fortunate to be born into a family where values are inculcated in our early childhood. Making a right choice in choosing the right life partner and our family values influences each walk of our life. When you become cognizant of how you spend your time and things you value the most. You become aware of the choices you make, and you spend your time differently.
Yes, I have a million things I could be doing this weekend especially with me hosting the family reunion next weekend, but I thought it was important to check on my family in Chicago this weekend. Life is short, never miss out on opportunities to create meaningful memories with family.
I haven’t posted anything on my blog in 2018 because it has been a hectic past six months. This blog I am going to catch you up to speed on things that have been going on this year. The past six months I have been learning life lessons about removing fear and stepping out on faith. For years I was hiding behind applying for things or engaging in specific opportunities because I did not have my Ph.D. A couple of years ago I applied to be on an editorial staff for a journal. The response I received was you have an impressive educational background, fantastic experience and would be perfect on the team, but you do not have your Ph.D. I would like for to you to reapply once you obtain your Ph.D. and I’m confident we will have a spot for you.
After that experience, I was hesitant to apply or seek out certain things as a result. When someone asked me to apply for something my response would be: I need to get this & that off my plate before pursuing other things. In reality, I was scared to venture outside my comfort zone on a lot of things. There were so many roadblocks to getting here on my journey. Having setbacks, failures, and receiving a few “NO’s” I realized the meaning of not my timing, but God’s timing is always perfect.
I admit I love working with my veterans, service members, and families as a therapist, but my job had become my comfort zone, and I could do it in my sleep because I’ve mastered it over the years. I was afraid I wasn’t ready, rejection, and the fear of the unknown, and allowed other people’s opinions of my destiny to paralyze me. Examples of a few things I heard “why you want to open an agency in Louisiana? ” “You won’t be able to juggle everything from Maryland.” etc.
After celebrating passing my oral defense, being cleared to graduate, partying with my support system all weekend, and attending commencement exercises were over. I attended my friend’s Dana vision board party. While I was at the party, I had time to sit down and focus on my vision for my career, personal life, and love life.
One day while at work I was sitting at my desk. I received an email from my boss to write a summary for an article. At that moment I said it’s time for me to dust this CV off and start applying for jobs because I’m tired of helping others find their spotlight. It was my time for me to become uncomfortable with the familiar and stop dimming my light so others can be great and step out in faith. I’m am so thankful I decided to face my fears, and my mom told me to read (John 14:26) where God gives you the vision, he will also give you the provision. I’m not someone who is at church every time the door opens, but I would say that I am a spiritual person. The scripture spoke to me in so many ways that whatever I was lacking God will provide.
After applying for several federal jobs and interviewing for two of them, I was selected for both. This week I will be declining one with the DC National Guard, and I have accepted a position as the Annapolis Vet Center Director. I applied for a few adjunct teaching jobs online because that was my motivation for obtaining my Ph.D. so I could teach while continuing to work fulltime. I have a strong desire and passion for teaching, but I’m not ready to walk away from almost a 10-year career with the federal government. I had two great interviews and was selected to teach at Walden University and UMUC.
Two of my biggest fears was presenting on specific topics and submitting one of my manuscripts for publishing before receiving my Ph.D. One day I received a text from my cousin Annie announcing she had released a children’s book. I was extremely happy for her success and purchased two copies. While reading her book, I was so impressed with the plot and the quality of the book. I decided to ask about the publishing company information. She shared the info for her contact. I decided to submit my manuscript for publishing. My script was accepted, and I’m currently working on illustrations for my book under my Dr. Doobie Children’s Book Series to be released this Fall or early Spring 2019. I am excited to share my first book with the world.
I believe in working silently and systematically towards my personal and career goals, but I think that sharing your testimony has the potential to bless someone else and it demonstrates growth and progress in your life. In 2017, I decided to open a mental health office in West Monroe, and I was running into some issues, and I was contemplating about closing the doors for various reasons. I discussed things with Mike and my friend/mentor/business partner Yolanda. After having the conversations and praying about the situation I was able to get refocused on making this a success. I have put together an impressive team of 7, and we are continuing to grow.
It is essential to face your fears and share your gift with the world. Success is about dedication. You may not be where you want to be or do what you want to do on your journey. You have to be willing to have a vision and have the foresight that leads you to an incredible end. It’s yours already, all you have to do is claim it. Your journey will have several risks along the way.
Risk- the possibility of suffering harm or loss; danger. Or can be explained as the failure of your expectations.
Free yourself of any limits or doubts. You can’t be afraid to take that jump or move. The fear of security holds us back from our full potential. Taking risk allows you to free yourself from being comfortable. One thing we are guaranteed to lose is time. Lose the negativity and habits that are limiting you. Keep the faith and take the risk. Take the time to open doors to your possibilities. I can’t tell you how many trips, family gatherings, and parties I’ve missed in the past 17 years. If you want to be successful, you have to dedicate every part of your mind, body, and heart to your goals. You have to show up and be the hardest worker in the room and be willing to miss out on short-term pleasures for long-term goals. It is incredible how your vision of your future will align with God’s plan for your life. So stop wishing you had things earlier. What God has for you is for you! When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning by dreams that need completion by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live this beautiful word called LIFE.
As I reflect on what a fantastic year 2018 has been thus far I think I’ve done so much I thought I couldn’t do in 6 months, but more importantly, I am in good health, a roof over my head, success, love all over me, and I am living my best life. I’ve cherished the simple things, and priceless moments. I presented my first workshop on LGBTQ clinical strategies in Louisiana, and my colleagues received it well. I had been planning and preparing for Mike’s birthday party for several months, and all of my close friends traveled to DC to help and make sure it was a success. He was able to enjoy his close family and friends while celebrating his 40th with plenty of pictures and memories.
I was able to attend Catholic University Social Work Commencement Exercises as Dr. G. I also, had the opportunity to witness two of my favorites students reach the finish line and obtain their MSW and welcome them in the field.
Being able to spend time with my family over the past six months has been amazing. I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago and spend time with my Great Aunt Ruby. Witnessing my nephew graduate from high school as Salutatorian and prepare for college in the fall are just some of the great examples. So I’m excited to see what the remaining of 2018 has to offer.
Christmas came early for me; I’ve been waiting on this piece of paper so I could have all my degrees framed. I never knew holding it in my hands would stir up so many emotions because it is a reminder of the obstacles, sacrifices, long nights writing after work, and lack of support from people I received, but it also a reminder that I am the head and not the tail. I allowed the tears to flow because it has been a journey to hold this piece of paper.
Listen, God will delay some blessings until you remove the toxins & toxic people from your life. So stop wishing you had things earlier. Such as: Graduation, a professional license, promotion on your job, love, marriage, kids, new home, new car, career, or owning your own business. What God has for you is for you! The oil will not flow if it’s not meant for you! This is my journey to the finish line balancing, love life, relocating for a new career, purchasing a home, army medical reserves, professor, traveling consultant, working a full time demanding career as a clinical provider, and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t have it all at the same time 😘
Therapist Corner: The thing about a lesson is once you learn them, you don’t have to revisit them. Everything happens for a reason. Don’t stress the could haves. If it should have, it would have. Everything that happens to you can be used, felt, shaped, and transformed to further our journey. Now we have one month left to finish the book of 2017. Make the last chapter a good one 😘 I have been busy preparing and planning for 2018, and I look forward to sharing some of the exciting things I have been working on for next year.
The pain was temporary, and part of my journey but a doctoral degree is forever #blackpsychologist #armyofficer #depressionresearch #Ph.D. #blackboyjoy
We have less than two months left in 2017, so I decided to write about the past few months. In July, I had individuals from all various chapters of my life come together for one weekend to celebrate me passing my Oral Defense and closing the chapter of my Ph.D. journey. It meant a lot to have my support system fly in town from all over and locally to share in our success. Each and everyone who attended played an intricate part in my journey to the finish line.
In August, we traveled to Miami to celebrate the beginning of chapter 35. Chapter 33 & 34 had a lot of highs & lows, and I wasn’t sure at times, but I made it through the years. Miami was very relaxing and just what I needed after the year I had. I just needed time to reflect. The beautiful thing about reflecting is you have time to evaluate yourself and relationships. When I get stuck in thought, a feeling, or a relationship, and I am confused about getting unstuck, I start to evaluate myself. I take the time to observe myself without judgment or reproach can be a powerful tool for change. I pay attention to what I say, what I think, how I’m feeling, how I act, or how I’m reacting. It is important not to judge but observe. Self-Evaluation is essential because we need to evaluate ourselves and see what are you bringing to the relationship and if you can make some improvements.
I traveled home to spend some time with family. While at home I realized as I get older somethings change and at the same time somethings remain the same. Going home is always a reminder of why I decided that I would get my education and not return home to live for several reasons. One of the reasons being that once you have been exposed to different cultures, experiences, and traditions your mindset are entirely different and it is hard to return to comfort zones where things do not grow. Another reason is when I went to pick up my keys to my office space I was reminded that I was back in Louisiana. It was the entire experience that made me feel like I was a little boy back in middle school dealing with racism from my middle school teacher Mrs. Alford 4th grade class and I am an adult with a Ph.D. Just being in the bank it reminded me of when I was attending undergrad at Northwestern majoring in Finance, and I returned home during the summer seeking an internship at one of the banks, and nobody wanted to give me an opportunity because I was an African American Male. On the bright side, I was able to spend some quality time with my family and purchase items for my office. I had the opportunity to sit down and have a one on one talk with my sister, and it was a great conversation.
At the end of September, I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in Orlando with individuals who have been there for me since day 1. I have never questioned their friendship, love or loyalty for me. This past weekend I spent time with some genuine and authentic people. I also had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my best friend on her one year anniversary weekend. These past few months I am thankful I was able to surround myself with family and friends who I can look at and I see reflected back is my power. I have been in the DMV area for about four years, and I have met a lot of people. I have met some people that I cherish the relationships and plan to keep for a lifetime and others were seasonal people who will not make it to the next chapter. The DMV is the first place I have lived where I have met so many pretentious people who are not authentic, humble, and genuine. I have met individuals who try to convince you that they have all your answers, which you need them to be able to see clearly, that without them you won’t be able to find the way. They don’t believe in you; they only believe in themselves. That’s not empowerment. That’s an approach destined to create dependency, often unhealthy dependency.
Moving forward in Chapter 35 I’ve made a decision that I am not going to continue to carry the weight of relationships that are not balanced or unhealthy in my life. I am going to stop holding onto people that have me on hold. I’ve agreed to make an effort to mend the relationships that are worth restoring, and I have reached out to those individuals who I need in my life. I’ve been reflecting on my life and focusing more on living for today and enjoying life while I can.
As adults, we are supposed to be evolving and growing on this journey we call life. This past weekend I admitted I enjoy helping and caring for others it is a part of my nature and making sure I reach out by visiting, texting, calling, and hosting events to foster relationships, and I am learning that some people only want to receive. I am also learning that people who have a thousand excuses why they are not providing anything in the connection. Meanwhile, I’m thinking to myself, I have several jobs, personal life, and yet I still make time to cultivate relationships. Relationships are supposed to be balanced. This point forward I am going to focus on the people who appreciate what I bring to the table. As I continue to grow, I am learning that it is perfectly fine to know when it’s time to stop or when my giving has become destructive. I care more about my relationship with my inner being than anything else. If I am not in alignment with myself, I have nothing to offer anyone.
Therapist Advice: Most of us need people around us who empower and help us feel able, on track, in balance, hopeful. We need people who tell us we can. Even if they don’t use words, they believe in us, and that belief shines through. Cultivate relationships with people who make you feel like you can, who help you know that you’re on track, right where you need to be. Spend time with people who support you know that you can trust yourself.
I’m working on the balanced relationships in my life. Three types of people to surround yourself with: the inspired, the excited, and the grateful. Who you surround yourself with is vital to your progression. Seek out people who empower you. Learn to empower those you love. And during those times when no one’s around, know that you can enable yourself.
We must learn who is gold, and who is merely gold plated. Thanks for everything and for being the real gold. A friend is a word we use every day, but most of the time we use it in the wrong way.
For many, the definition of a “friend” may be used a lot, yet friendship comes in various types of friends. Some are always on your side, and others just want to take you for a ride. A real friend not only matches your spirit in excitement but also uplifts your spirits during the good and the bad times. Real friends can show you more than you can see. For me, my friends are a source of happiness and strength. I am grateful for all of you!
After watching my sister’s video, please like and share the video because it has an excellent message and it made me think about something personal things with myself. After watching the video and all of the post on social media yesterday, I thought everyone’s a critic, except the people who do stuff or when it’s their mom, sister, aunt, friend, or brother. After watching the video, I started thinking about myself. It is exquisite that individuals take the time to think about how something resonates within us. It is easier to point the blame towards someone else. Yes, we are all guilty of gossiping, bullying, or expressing our personal opinion or problems at some point, but when you learn better, you do better. I have a lot of personal opinions about various things, but when you are a licensed provider, an officer in the United States Military, and work as a Federal employee, you understand about respect and expressing your personal opinions on social media.
I have noticed that I have limited my time on Facebook because it has started to remind me of Twitter. I stopped going on Twitter because I saw that it was becoming to be real messy, and everyone was throwing shade at someone. Facebook was a place where I was able to keep in touch with my family, and friends because I live a great distance from everyone and do not get home often as I would like. Now, when I log onto social media (Facebook), I have noticed that it has become real messy, and people are throwing shade. Other things I have seen it that Facebook have become more about impressing others, and people believe that you are doing great things in your professional and personal life.
It is important to realize time is of the essence but it doesn’t wait for anyone, but it’s priceless. Once you’ve lost it, you can never regain it. Imagine for a moment that you’re sitting alone on your bed, your Physician explained that you have about two months left to live and you ask yourself “How did I live my life?”, “Do I have any regrets?”, “Did I accomplish all of my goals?”, “Did I find love?”, “Did I accomplish all of my goals?”. It’s impossible to answer those questions without reflecting on how you spent your time on a daily basis. The biggest regret that people have on their deathbed is that they lived the life expected of them instead of a life true to themselves.
When you become cognizant of how you spend your time and things you value the most. You become aware of the choices you make, and you spend your time differently. You will notice your life evolving and moving to the next chapter. I have a schedule that I try to make sure I balance things. Every day I have my time where I devote to seeing patients at my full time, dealing with army medical reserve (i.e. completing evaluations for soldiers). Making time for my personal, professional goals (working on opening my agency in August), (researching grants), (working on research proposals) and devoting some time to my relationship because I desire to have a partner to go through the good and bad on this journey we call life.
I am currently documenting what I spend my time on with journaling or writing down things on my calendar. Doing this straightforward task will significantly increase your awareness of how you spend your time. Getting into the habit of having a weekly and monthly reflection will greatly help you spend your time on the right things. Start doing it and you’ll never regret it. I want you to start becoming aware of how you spend your time, and what consumes your time. Having this knowledge will assist you in making better choices, regardless of who you are and whatever your goals are. The way you spend your time is the way you spend your life. How are you spending your time?
Spending your time on things you value, there are six things you must know:
• How do I currently spend my time?
• What are my goals?
• What skills and other resources do I need to achieve my goals?
• What are the specific activities that I need to make an action plan?
• How am I currently spending my time on a daily basis?
• What are the most valuable things I want to spend my time on today? “Valuable” in this context is defined by your life-direction.
I have been gone for a minute now I’m back at the jump off (Jump off)….I have been focusing on a few projects. On a regular basis, I attempt to practice what I preach on a daily basis because I do not want to seem hypocritical, or not trying to live a healthy life. One of the things I have struggled with in past relationships with family, friends, and intimate partners is dimming my light and trying to motivate, inspire, encourage, and help with the planning of their career, relationships, or self-worth. I am guilty of compromising my essence in my relationship, and I can realize that I was betraying myself. In my relationship, I found myself not discussing some of my accomplishments or achievements because I was focused on making sure my partner was successful in all endeavors. After years of learning, I have realized that when you compromise self, a part of you dies in the process. It is a feeling of unhappiness that takes place because you start to become unfulfilled. As a therapist or a helper, I think people forget that sometimes the person who attempts to help everyone needs some assistance with things on this journey we call life.
If you are reading this and thinking is the therapist trying to tell me that I am in a relationship or friends with someone, who does not love me? Keep this in mind even if the person likes or loves you, but you are continuing to put their needs, and wants ahead of yours then you are not free, and it will not be fulfilling in the long run. Personally, I had to take a step back and realize that I was compromising Michael and my God given talents to help individuals with their desires, wishes, goals, and dreams. As a result in the past, I took several quarters to sit out of school because I needed to focus on my relationship or their goals. I decided not to accept several opportunities because I thought it wasn’t the best thing at that time. Some situations I had to take time away from school or my personal goals because financially I had to concentrate on other things for others.
Real freedom is to love and accept you, talents, skills, and personality. The freedom to love self and being able to accept yourself even if there are moments you find it difficult to love and accept yourself. As you learn to love and accept even your non-acceptance, a profound peace will begin to resonate within you. As you start to like who you are, you will start to acknowledge and nourish the light within you. The light inside you then grows stronger, and in these moments you realize the potential you have.
I have learned that there is nothing humble about playing small in personal or professional relationships . When you know who you are, you are aware that what is magnificent and shines is not “you” in the egoist sense, but the essence of your being. This essence is the same essence inside us all. My mother would recite to me all the time Deuteronomy 28:13 13-The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Yes, placing yourself in the world to try various opportunities, and share your gifts can be a vulnerable and a scary thing. You will have thoughts “Will I be great,” Will I be successful,” or “Will they embrace who I am.” I have had all of those thoughts and much more but I did not allow those thoughts to stop me from applying to present at local, regional, national, or international conferences to be a presenter. It is easier just to play it small and hide behind things because when we are visible, we subject ourselves to criticism and scrutiny. So many of us hide behind our comfort zones and play it safe. Instead of sending the DM and see where things will go with someone you find to be attractive. Don’t be afraid to approach someone because they are attractive because you have a lot to offer someone as well. Do not hesitate to send the DM because you are comfortable with going home to an empty home. We have to allow our magnitude of our visions to be bigger than our fears.
On this journey I am noticing as I step into my greatness and share my God-given talents with the world, people will have all sorts of opinions about you. People will try to come with things to destroy your happiness. Everyone is entitled to their views is something I am learning and not take everything personally. It is their opinion and how they perceive me tends to reveal more about them than about me because they do not know me from a can of paint. Again, playing small or diminishing your light doesn’t serve anyone any purpose. In fact, when you let your light shine, it inspires, encourages, and motivates those around you of the very same light that they possess inside of them. Each person has an individual light within them. It is not the same light as mine because what God has for is for me. I have noticed my friends, and family becomes inspired to live out their dreams or step out on faith and open their own business, purchase their first rental property, or start dating someone. Even in your personal, intimate relationships they will become inspired by your example and use your model to step up their own game. There will be some people who will be jealous as it’s a reminder of where they aren’t living out their potential greatness. This has the potential to be very frustrating when dealing with friends, family, and lovers but remember you are only showing them their possible potential and they may never reach that level of potential that you see in them. It’s not selfish to let your light shine. In fact, it’s selfish NOT to let your light shine. The world misses out on so many fantastic gifts when you hold back sharing your gifts. There is no perfect time to start allowing yourself to be great. It’s time to stop hiding and shine your light and investing in yourself. If you wait until you are ready, you will be waiting the rest of your life. Sometimes in life, you need to put yourself. First, you need to think about what’s best for you and pursue it.
Money don’t make me happy (Make me happy)
And a fella can’t make me fancy (Make me fancy)
We smiling’ for a whole nother reason (Whole nother reason)
It’s all smiling through all four seasons
Today marked four years when I decided to step out on faith and relocate to the east coast. One quote comes to mind from Pope Benedict XVI: “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” The movers packed up my apartment, and I moved to the DMV. Jesse and I drove from Wichita, Kansas to Silver Spring, Maryland & Calesha flew in to help me get organized in my new space.
Faith and life go hand in hand; it is impossible to live life to the fullest without faith because faith gives life purpose. Life begins outside of your comfort zone.
Therapist Corner: It is important to remain patient and trust your journey. Life will unfold exactly as it should be revealing. The best thing we can do is trust that this is all working out(it always is even if we can’t see it yet) and continue to grow and evolve.