From: Michael & family
I was asked to write a blog to my younger self about the changes I would make in regards to my career, personal relationships, family, love life, and things that I am thankful for this holiday season. My advice is whatever you think you’d tell your younger self, say it to yourself now: There’s a lot you still can do.
I’m grateful for many things….I wanted to send a note to share some of the many things I am thankful for this year. I’m thankful for my power in the present, and my unwritten future, and a past that’s forever behind me. I am grateful for the people who are in my life.
Some people come into your life to teach you a valuable lesson, and others are a blessing from God. A few individuals that I was dealing with taught me some valuable lessons this year. Don’t forget to tell people you care for that they are special. That affirmation could be the difference between the sunshine and a rainstorm. Don’t be afraid to be transparent with the individuals who have your best interest at heart. The people who are not concerned about you then it’s perfectly fine to guard your heart against them.
The thing about an experience is once you learn them, you don’t have to revisit them again. Through my experiences, I am constantly encouraging myself to live boldly and love hard because it’s an amazing experience. Residing in the here and now is ultimately the best thing we can do. Errors make you human, and you don’t always have to be strong to be strong. Sometimes our strength is expressed in being vulnerable. Give everything and have no regrets. Everything happens for a reason. Don’t stress the could haves. If it had, it would have.
We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. When it is recognition that makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Now we have one month left to finish the book of 2016. Make the last chapter a good one.
This holiday, if you are thinking about what’s missing, feels overwhelming, try to find what’s present. As always and during this Thanksgiving holiday, Remember your blessings and thank God for them all.
Michael D. Gatson
On yesterday, it was full of obstacles but I made it to my destination and accomplished the initial goal. I used to pray for opportunities to travel and get paid for something I love doing. I like being around genuine people and finding new ways to love the same person over and over. It is important to expose ourselves to different parts of the world and to new experience and cultures so that we can change out our lenses. It’s important to surround ourselves with people who help us grow and bring out the best versions of ourselves. In this life we can’t take anything for granted. Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. Even when the odds are against you. Fight for your dreams. Even if you have to invest a lot of time, and your income. Do whatever is necessary to achieve your goals. On your personal journey, you will face many obstacles along the way. Your family and friends may turn against you in the process. Those you love will think you are crazy but don’t give up on your dreams.As we are approaching Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentines. It seems appropriate to think about what and who are we committing to in the new year. Are the people in my life helping me become a better person? Are they helping me grow to my full potential?
Dr. G’s advice:
Yesterday, I was on the plane, and I met this guy named, Micah. We talked on the plane from DC to ATL. During our conversation, I found out that he was an Engineer originally from Memphis. He has lived in New York, Washington DC, and now residing in Clinton, MS. He also expressed that he has been trying to get his family to leave their hometown and branch out to new cities, cultures, and meet new people. We also talked about some of our similarities and how we love to travel and respond to new people.
I remember when I turned 18 I felt like I was an adult. One day I told my grandmother that I was grown. She looked at me and asked me, “what happens to a rose when it is fully bloomed?” I replied that it opens up beautifully and it eventually dies. She reminded me that we are a lot like a rose and when we are fully bloomed then it is time for us to die. Until that time comes we are constantly growing and in transition to the next phase of our lives. If we are not growing, we are dying. It is important as humans that we are always in the form of construction. I want you to start stepping outside of your comfort zone and take a chance in getting to know someone new. Start new conversations you normally would not. Having the conversations, we’ve never had so that we can build a relationship we’ve never experienced before.
A few weeks ago I was talking with one of my good friends, and colleagues about traveling beyond her regular destinations to meet someone with a different mindset and ready for a serious committed relationship. Traveling doesn’t necessarily mean going overseas. Maybe traveling means venturing off to the west coast, or the east coast, and exploring new activities, and adventures while you are on vacation. In the days to come, and new year I challenge you to challenge yourself to explore new adventures, destinations and become curious to the unknown. To not just react to what is being presented, but rather to try to understand a person’s story, and their logic about things before judging them.
I want you to focus on the many different aspects of wellness and look at areas that you have room to grow. As a professor, and therapist I hear all the time from individuals about their frustration with their family, friends, or partners about them telling them to pursue their dreams or passion. Examine the different parts that make up you as an individual. Let’s connect to the parts that bring us joy.
1. Who are the people in your circle?
2. Do you have quality people in your circle?
3. Do they bring out the positive attributes within you?
4. Do they challenge you for greatness?
5. Do they lift you up?
6. Do they bring out the better side of you?
Shift your group around so you are aligned. We should be inviting people in our circle to enhance and advance us as an individual.
As a marriage counselor, I am always challenging my couples to be active and present in their relationship. That means their relationship is a job and they are making sure to devote time and emotions into it.
Ask yourself on a monthly basis how can I show my love for my partner.
Am I working on being a supportive partner?
Am working hard as an individual to inspire and motivate my partner?
How are my communication skills in my partner?
Remember we were created to share our gifts and talents. Also, you have been set up to make somebody else’s life better. Somebody needs what you have- your smile, touch, love, support, and encouragement. Committing to loving our partners over and over again and finding new ways to support, cheer, and stand by their side.
The biggest lesson that I have learned this year is being mindful of how much I give of myself. There are givers and takers in every relationship. The best friends and partners understand the importance of balancing the two. To be able to fill someone else’s cup when yours is overflowing is a beautiful thing. If you never set boundaries with family, friends, and your partner or find someone that recognizes when you need to receive you will just end of empty and shattered.
Happy holiday’s from Dr. Gatson & family
This morning I was reading my daily word before starting my day at work. I haven’t blogged in a few months because I have been busy enjoying life. Before I went to bed, last night I thought I am exhausted and I have to be at work in the morning, but I glanced over, and I felt a great feeling coursing through my veins. I felt happy, love, at peace, and excited about a lot of things and what the future holds.
My patients ask me all the time “How do I find peace, joy, love, and happiness in my life?” Changing yourself is a skill, a decision, and a process, and all three usually takes time. Continuing to remove old, negative feelings, and outdated beliefs. Stay committed to healing and discovering your souls, even when you question if it is worth it. Loving yourself. Love others. Self-love comes from understanding even the deepest and most painful parts of our story, and loving it. Self-love is important because when we fall in love with ourselves, we allow other people to love us because we deserve it. When we choose us, we meet other individuals who choose themselves, and they make our lives and our mornings ever so much brighter even if you are not a morning person like me.
Stay committed to your personal growth process until you can smile at night before falling asleep and ask yourself, What is that strange feeling? Then know what the answer is. The answer is joy. We are all entitled to more fulfillment, joy, love, and meaning in life because they’re in a minority of things that are limitless in supply. Happiness is the seasoning; fulfillment is the meal~MDG
This week I celebrated my 7th anniversary from when I submitted my first research proposal and presented at NASW-LA in Baton Rouge, LA. This week I presented at the NASW-MD Conference on Suicide Among Active Military Personnel and War Veterans. My first time I was introducing the information from my article I published with NASW, and I was very comfortable and not feeling nervous at all. I had an altercation to happen between two of the participants. I feel that I handled the situation very well. During my presentation, I provided a group assignment. One of the participants would play the therapist, and the other member would be the patient. While they were working on their task, I met a lovely retired neuropsychologist who greeted and congratulated me on passing my oral defense. We had a pleasant exchange of the work I have been doing with the VA and in the community.
After the group assignment was over, I had everyone provide their feedback. One of the participants was a newly licensed social worker and MSW graduate who expressed being nervous and not confident in the role of a therapist. I provided her with a little feedback. I explained it is important to speak with authority and conviction when you are speaking to people. As a therapist, it is important to know when to be silent. There is a great wisdom and illumination in both. When you are confused and nervous, ask your heart which is the best approach for that moment and proceeds with confidence. Practice being present with others. Listen, rather than just thinking about what you’re going to say next. People can sense when someone is listening to them. Being grounded and present is a gift to yourself and others.
I finished presenting and met with a few people afterward and exchanged information. The newly licensed social worker came up to me later and had several questions about my journey as a social worker. I explained to her that I have a strong support system and great mentors. She wanted to know how to gain confidence and getting her career started as a social worker. I explained to be generous in the giving of yourself. Even if it’s just for a moment. You could be the person who makes all the difference.
Trust the process of your life. On the journey, there will be some bad things happen along the way but having faith that something good will always come out of the situation. It may take a while to see the blessing, but eventually, you will. If I appear to be strong, it is because I have been weak before. If it seems as I am fearless when I am answering questions from participants it’s because I have been afraid in the past. When I am in front of other medical professionals, colleagues, or students, I always take the time to recite “for in him we live, move, and have our being.” I shake out all the fear and nerves that I am currently experiencing, and take a few deep breaths, and remember who is in control, and I began to feel myself returning to my center.
Life is a journey, and as we will all travel along, and we will run into several challenges along the way. When you run into those challenges along the way, it is important to have a strong support system, and mentors to help provide support, encouragement, inspiration, and insight. It will come a time you don’t have a clue of the destination, but if you trust God, follow the desires of your heart, remain humble, and believe the desires of your heart then each step will lead you. You will begin to realize that the steps you are making in the right direction on your personal journey.
No worries every heartbreak, mistake, or experience will teach you something valuable. It will be your trip that nobody else will travel, and no one can judge. Friends and family will accompany you part of the way, and you’ll walk the rest by yourself, but you will never be alone. You will learn that people will want you to do good but never better than them.
Trust the process. Act as if you already the person you dream of becoming courageous, self-expressed, and compassionate. When you get anxious, nervous, or fearful, ask yourself, “How would the ‘I’ whom I want to become an act in this situation?” Then do it. You will be amazed how much you already are the person who you desire to be. As I continue my professional journey, I am learning that real success comes in small portions day by day.
There comes a time in every adult’s life where they must be honest and in tune with their true feelings. A couple of weekends ago I was having a pity party for me being in class on Saturday, and Sunday taking a CBT certification course. Next weekend I will be working on speaking engagements and the weather is getting warmer, and everyone is enjoying, and I will be working. I started thinking when will I get the chance to enjoy my weekends and after work, and sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labor. During this same class, I was texting with one of my friends, and he asked me the question are you happy? You are always working. I had to take a few seconds to think about his question before answering. I replied to him “are you asking me if I am happy because I have a lot of things I am currently working on at the moment.” I explained to him that my goal in life is to make sure the work I have done speaks for who I am as a person. When I leave this earth, I want to ensure I used my entire God given talents.
After really thinking about his question I realized that I am taking this course because more certifications, equals more opportunity. Growing up my parents instilled in me the importance of working and having multiple strings of income or as my dad would say “multiple hustles.” Then I also realized I am enjoying the fruits of my labor. I have a home I love, and the potential to take care of all of my needs, and the majority of my wants. The horizons are high, and I will be able to enjoy other things even more once I set myself up for the future, but fruits are currently being enjoyed. Celebrating yourself is important!!! Don’t limit your radiant self-expression. You encourage others to shine brightly through your examples. There will be haters and people telling you can’t accomplish things. My favorite one was when people told me I would never pass through army boot camp. I am going on four years in the Army as an officer. I have learned over
the years I can’t share my joy with everyone but only with people whom I know will celebrate with me. Then there are times when I am working silently and systematically on things, and I share my joy with God by being grateful for happiness!
To have success, we have to be willing to sacrifice late nights, early mornings, and weekends. As we mature and we tend to have more associates, and our circle of friends becomes smaller.
Recently my coworker encouraged me to apply to be a speaker for a company. I thought about it for a while, and then I started to doubt myself. Having thoughts, I have not been in the field long enough to compete on the same level as the other presenters. I had to remember why I started this journey. I started presenting seven years ago because I started complaining about hearing the same boring styles of presentations, and I wanted to see and hear something different. I submitted my proposal several places and presented for no charge for several years before I started receiving compensation. Then I began to think about what my support system would tell me in times like this.
• God did not give you the spirit of fear
• I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me
• Stay humble but always ask God for your wisdom
• Always remember God placed you in that position so that you can deposit seeds into others.
I know that if I’m operating at my full potential, there is no one better than me. I’m the expert on my research. When you trust your skills fully then no one will be able to intimidate you. I decided to send my information and apply for the position. A week later I received an email about setting up a phone interview to discuss my research proposal I recently submitted. The phone interview went well, and they want me to proceed with the hiring process.
Utilizing your entire God given talents is necessary. I have several projects that I am currently working on at the moment. Don’t let any of your skills, goals, or dreams go to waste. It is important to put everything that was placed inside of you back into the universe. Whatever it is you are scared to try: writing your first book, becoming a makeup artist, getting your masters, or Ph.D., the opening of your private practice, opening a boutique, starting your own business. Your greatness could be wrapped inside. Bloom where you are planted and stop waiting for the right time. There is always someone who will be watching how seeds grow into beautiful flowers. In reality, whatever skills, or goals that have been planted inside of you was not for you, but for someone else. A few people are taking notes, copying, and looking up to you but will never tell you. You have an audience! Your story is the key that unlocks someone else’s prison. Share your testimony with someone. You will never know the power you possess until you release it into the universe. How we spend our time determines if we are moving toward or away from our goals. You might have an 8-4:30 job, but you can still allocate time towards your goals, dreams, and talents.
Blogging allows me the opportunity to relax and take a break from my normal routine. It is very stress relieving when I’m able to write about my journey. The beautiful thing about reflecting is you have time to evaluate yourself and relationships. When I get stuck in a 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.
Recently, I started to reflect on a few relationships that mean a lot to me. I can remember at one point I was really close to certain individuals, and I am not sure what caused the division. One relationship, in particular, I have been praying about for some time. After several years, I decided to express my feelings about a multitude of things I have been feeling over the years. I wanted to reach out to mend things. After discussing things in great detail, we were able to apologize and agree to work on our relationship going forward. Self-Evaluation is important because we need to evaluate ourselves and see what are you bringing to the relationship and if you can make some improvements.
I’ve made a decision that I am not going to continue to carry the weight of relationships that are not balanced. 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 mending. 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 evolve and grow. I enjoy helping and caring for others and making sure I reach out by visiting, texting, calling, and hosting events to foster relationships, and some people only want to receive. Then you have people who have a thousand excuses why they are not providing anything in the relationship. 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.
Regardless of your past I’m learning it’s important to keep your heart open. If it’s not safe, you’ll know. But don’t close your heart. Just move in another direction. Don’t worry about getting your heart broken. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes it’s the price you pay for opening your heart, for taking the risk. But if it does happen, you can allow your heart to heal, then open it once again. Let it remind you that, once healed, a broken heart is a beautiful work of art.
Sometimes it hits you instantly and at that moment you begin to realize that enough is enough. This morning I woke up and said a prayer and thought about letting some people, and situations go. Saying no is another way of saying when. Sometimes it is the hardest word in the language to speak is the short, simple word no especially with family and close friends. Instead of saying no, we toil on. What will he think if I say no? A good Christian needs to sacrifice himself. Saying no is selfish. And the list goes on. We abuse ourselves, take on more than we want, and find ourselves bitter and resentful. And we’ve done it to ourselves. It is important to know your limits. Know when to say no. There may be a few people who are offended by the limits that you set, but usually those are the ones trying to control or manipulate you. I am learning on a daily basis that my ultimate responsibility is to myself. As I am getting older I am realizing that sometimes you just outgrow certain people. Don’t try to fix or repair it, just accept it and move on. Also, I am learning that responsibility includes knowing how and when to set limits. Look at your schedule. Are you overloaded or booked that you can’t see when you could have any time for fun, relaxing, or your own personal growth? It may be time for you to start setting limits. Remember, you get to decide what’s best for you. Learn to say no and stand by your choice. My Wednesday morning revelation I wanted to share with you. As I continue to grow personally, I will continue to pray that God will help me to continue to have strength to set reasonable limits for myself and to tell others when I cannot help them. Help me learn to say no.
Pay attention to the time element associated with what you want. Opportunities for getting what you want are time limited. They have a shelf life that can and will expire. I have a few expiration dates that are approaching.😎