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.
Sometimes in our relationships (friendships, love relationships, family, and professional relationships) we need to learn to let go. Sometimes we need to say goodbye. So we can travel on our own personal journeys, and experience life lessons.
As a therapist, I am constantly dealing with various issues on a daily basis. Yesterday I was dealing with the topic of divorce and breakup. On this journey of life, we are faced with many losses. Ranging from people we have loved, jobs, house, car, money, or something we valued. If you are not careful you can even lose sight of your values, dreams, and goals. Searching for a quick fix is not the solution to avoiding feelings about your loss. When we are searching for instant gratification we often miss the lesson. In order to move forward we have to accept, and validate our feelings. Losses demand acceptance. Take the time to heal and you will meet new people along this journey. It is important to cherish the time alone to grow and learn.
Last night I was talking to a good friend about love and healing from hurt, and heartbreak. Discussing in detail about the first time my heart was broken made me think about the importance of acknowledging and validating your personal feelings. Sometimes we think being strong means not giving in to our emotions. Real power comes from being vulnerable enough to feel whatever we feel. We may not see the lesson until we feel the feeling. It was at that moment I was able to feel the pain, hurt, resentment, anger, rejection, and denial. After acknowledging and validating my feelings about my relationship is when I was able to move forward into new circumstances, and accept my own personal growth. I am thankful for the lesson and being able to move forward with love and life. My advice for anyone dealing with a situation feel the feeling and then release it. Happy Hump Day! ~Michael D. Gatson
Dear Mr. Gatson,
I’m not sure if this is the right email to send this to. Feel free to correct me if not. Below is my entry/ question to your blog.
I’ve gone out on a few dates this year and each time I’ve noticed a few small things. For example, one gentleman I noticed when I ask him questions he’s a bit vague with his answers. I called him out on it and he said “I don’t come out and say a lot in the beginning” I replied “I’m not asking you anything too personal just some things to assist me in getting to know you better” He acted like I was attempting to access VIP passes into his traumatic childhood (not sure if his childhood was traumatic, just saying). There was another instance where I noticed a guy’s phone in big bold print read “19 new messages”. To me, that says you have too much going. Although I do not know what the messages said or any other information regarding them but he’s also inconsistent with follow-ups such as texts and returning calls. I do not jump at every opportunity to “call them out” I mostly keep my “findings” to myself. I acknowledge the fact that I think a lot and it causes me to sometimes over think things. I also, give up on people too quick. I just refuse to be that girl that overlooks something and swear I did not see it coming. I can’t deal with the foolishness and games. What is this all about? Am I looking too much into this or are these nuggets of information good to keep in the back of my mind? Should I consider all these red flags? Help a sistah out. 🙂
Dear Ms. Dating Investigator,
Dating allows you the opportunity to get to know someone better instead of jumping into a relationship. It is an investment that you are making if you plan on having a long term relationship. When you take time to be respectful and trusting someone while dating is when things evolve into a natural relationship of getting to know the person. You do not need to be aggressive with dating; it should be an enjoyable experience.
Initially when you start dating someone it is the time to get to know someone before getting into a relationship. Getting to know the person and who they really are is very valuable. When getting to know someone it is important to listen with empathy, confide your needs in a caring and positive manner. Personally I am very private about my personal and intimate details. Some things I am not willing to discuss with people I am meeting for the first time. A few examples of things that I am not willing to share when I first meet someone: details about my personal life, sexual questions, family, and my finances. Yes, to know someone well requires communication, and consistency.
This week I was giving a friend some advice on how guys like to have a conversation with a woman and being treated as well. It is important to be congruent in conversing with a minimum of hidden messages. You have to think about others feelings and rights before you speak. Yes, you want to be assertive, and honest with him. But you do not want to say or ask things that will hurt them. Your communication styles impact on how others interact with them. Identify which communication pattern below you are using when you are addressing him.
Now for Mr. 19 messages I would say maybe he has a lot of family and friends and a very demanding career that doesn’t allow him to respond to everyone, but you stated that he has a habit of not responding to text, and returning phone calls. Human nature, we do more non-verbal communications than verbal communications, so follow their actions. This is the most significant. Pay attention to their facial expressions, responses, and reactions to certain questions and situations. It is important to recognize patterns in ourselves and others and how they keep us disconnected.
A close friend of mine told me the other night that I needed to start detaching. Detaching requires that you get your ego disentangled from his emotions and especially from his actions and their results. It requires that you allow him to deal with the consequences of his behavior; you don’t save him from any of his pain. You will continue to care about him, but you don’t take care of him. You allow him to find his own way, just as you are working to find yours. Learning to say and do nothing has been a learning experience for me. Stop managing and controlling him means not helping and not giving advice. It requires learning to say nothing and do nothing. It means stop watching. Pay less attention to your personal life. As long as you are focused on changing someone over whom you are powerless (and we are all powerless over changing anyone but ourselves). Nobody will ever change in the face of pressure.
Courageously face your own problems and shortcomings
Questions I would like for you to think about: What can you anticipate if you become more appropriately assertive in your communication? Are you ready to date? Are you dating for a purpose? If so what is the purpose?
Types of Communication Communication Type: Assertive Behavior: Straight forward, honest and direct expression of needs, thoughts, and feelings. Typical Result: Respect of self and other resulting in greater likeliness of message of being heard. Communication Type: Aggressive Behavior: Expression of needs, thoughts, and feelings that are done in such a way as to control the exchange of information. Typical Result: Lack of respect for the other party and less likely those expressions will be heard in a productive manner. Communication Type: Non-Assertive Behavior: expression of needs, thoughts, or feelings in such a way that others take priority or no expression of needs, thoughts or emotions. Typical Result: Your concerns are ignored if heard at all.
Safe topics to discuss when you first meet someone: Values ,Friends, Surface questions about family, Marriage, Children, Morals, Goals, and Hobbies.
If you have a question please send them to Michael.D.Gatson@gmail.com and include askdrdoobie in the subject. New blog coming soon: Reasons why I maybe single……