“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” ― Nathan W. Morris

I like to purge. I consider myself a purger but not of the body. I like to purge stuff and find that very cathartic. I have always lived by the motto if it isn’t serving a purpose, I don’t need it. Its worked out well, so far.

I have decided to take that motto and take it a step forward. I have a friend who is a minimalist. Its quite fascinating that she cannot survive with less stuff in a society that tells us we need more stuff. I have imagined its very freeing.

Being a minimalist is something I have always seen myself doing. I truly like the idea to not being bogged down from having things I simply do not need. So I have taken the first step to becoming a minimalist. I have gone through my closet and gathered all the clothing I intend to donate. I mean were talking five pairs of shoes, numerous t-shirts, polos, sweaters, and jeans. Every bit of clothing is something I haven’t worn in years. I find myself saying I will wear it eventually or when I lose a few pounds. This type of thinking isn’t productive.

So with anything, I research minimalism and found that this concept isn’t limited to “stuff”. It can be a lifestyle. I found that you can start with stuff but you can minimize your job/school, stress, debt, friends/family, and health/diet. I became obsessed with this notion. I’ll be it, I won’t be minimalizing much of friends and family. I already have a small and close knit support system but everything else sounds appealing.

One article I read even discussed mental health as an aspect of minimal living. Learning to minimalize the stress and conflict in your life. You see minimalism is about a person’s whole being and is intended for optimal living. You create more freedom for yourself when you are not tied to stuff and negative baggage.

Minimal living in regard to health and diet requires more planning. Everyday I spend ten dollars to eat lunch because I make no preparation for what I intend to eat. So by planning my meals and minimally spending money, I am giving myself freedom in more healthy living and saving money on food that is not spur of the moment.

My end game is that I hope this provides me with more time to do what I want. I think this will be a good way to get it. Living minimally is living more purposefully.

I started with my closet and intend to move to other parts of my life. Lets see how it goes:

 

 

“If this planet is to be transformed for the better, then we as individuals must first transform ourselves.” ― Auliq Ice

Lately, I’ve been in my head a lot. Those that know me understand this is typical for but it’s been a good “inside your head”. Recently, I’ve noticed I have felt very grateful for life and my people, places, and things, especially my career. I have never been more fulfilled in what I do. I got to thinking why this is.

I have this firm belief in people, goodness, and easing other folk’s burden. As a kid, I had a youth leader at church that impressed upon my cohorts and me the belief that we should “leave things better than we found them”. I have realized that this sentiment impacted me more than I knew. This thought has driven many of my decisions in life. I want to know I am leaving my people, places, and things better off that when they came to me.

Social Work is how I have fulfilled this. What we do matters. Who we work with matters and I love to do it. I work with all different types of people. I work to solve many different types of problems. We should be meeting people where they are at and not where we expect them to be.

When working with folks, it is important to remember not everyone is like you and that is okay. We should not expect everyone to fall in line with our beliefs, customs, and way of doing things. If you do, you’re in for a sad life.

Social Work seeks to improve the lives of others and the communities in which they live. Everyone truly is interconnected on a level that none of us can see. We share problems and should be empathetic to folks.

Social Work seeks to “leave things better than we found them”. Social Workers advocate for those who do not have the ability to advocate for themselves. This looks like different things. Sometimes we intervene with a landlord, teacher, doctor, or family member. Other times we intervene with folks who you wouldn’t expect. An example would be another person who is in the field that should be working for the same goal, bettering the client’s life. If you want to piss me of the fastest, its being a stumbling block for someone else when your job is to be a support for that person.

Unfortunately, I see it all too often. “Do No Harm” is something doctors live by but my coworkers and I have adopted that motto as well in response to seeing people not living up to what they should be.

That vow is a serious one. If you aren’t working to better your client’s life you aren’t doing your job.

It is very important to leave the world a better place. This is done in very complex ways and also very simple ways. You do not have to be the President to make the world a better place.

We can make the world a better place by simply being there for folks. Sometimes a strong silence will do more for a person than a bunch of hot air. We can volunteer and work for different social agencies.

It even can happen on a smaller scale, hold a door open for someone, make a phone call, smile at someone. Small gestures make a big impact.

Remember that you can make an impact on people and leave things better that when you found them. Look for a need and fulfill it, no matter how small.

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” —Benjamin Disraeli

March is Social Work Appreciation month and as we wind down the third month of the year, I wanted to write about my passion and chosen career. Many folks have a misconception of what Social Work is and what a Social Worker does. Many people see Social Workers only responsibility is to take children out of unfit homes, which they do but also so much more.

Social Workers work in many different settings. Some work in hospitals, some hold government positions, some are DCS case workers, others work for insurance companies, nonprofits, charitable organizations, and many other places.

I have known some social workers to be therapists, presidents of hospitals, and coordinator of Dolly Parton’s Imagination library. One of the executives at my company was a neonatal social worker. We come in all shapes and forms. Its astounding.

I am very lucky, for which I completely recognize, that I found a career that is also my passion. Not everyone is lucky enough to say that. I feel as if I have found my purpose and wish to spend the rest of my life pursuing it.

My current role is to work with children and adults who suffer from mental illness. I am to provide them with the tools and education that will allow them to function at their absolute best. This is the mission of every social worker. We also advocate for those who are unable to. We provide a voice for someone who is too afraid to speak. Some social workers advocate for an abused child, woman, or man. Some social workers seek to protect the elderly. There are social workers who seek to restore the rights of oppressed people. Advocacy is a large part in what we do. Unfortunately, there are people in this world who seek to use their power and privilege for their own evils.

I make it my mission to restore dignity to every person I work with. Sometimes other people have a way of taking people’s humanity away and social work seeks to reverse that. I believe that all people have basic rights. I believe that everyone is entitled to live their best life and should not be impeded on what other  think or believe. I believe people are good. I believe people have obstacles in life and they can be overcome. I believe folks should be given an opportunity and they shouldn’t be discounted who they are, where they live, who they love, or what physical/mental impairment they may have. Everyone deserves respect.

I  came to this profession for two reasons; 1) I wanted to help people and 2) I believe God led me to this career path. I always say that Jesus was the greatest social worker to ever live. I thank God for Christ and his powerful example of how to treat mankind.

I wish to make an impact on the world. I never wanted to do that in a grandeur way. I work with people within my community and attempt to meet their needs Often people believe social problems are one dimensional and easy to fix. That notion is false. Social problems are complex. People who suffer from the disease of addiction cannot just stop using. There are serious biological and psychological factors involved. Furthermore, people who are an addict never stop being an addict. That is something that is maintained as a life long goal. Family dynamics are crucial to social problems as well. Many times social issues are generational and cycle through families. Without intervention those cycles cannot be changed.

I firmly believe that family is the bedrock of society. I do believe you can look at any social issues, whether its imprisonment, poverty, addiction, abuse, and so forth, and link it back to the family unit. Its my believe the breakdown of the American family perpetuates many of these issues. I am lucky to work in a career field where I am helping people break the cycle. All I can do is provide people with the tools and education. They must put in the work. Frankly, its a miss more times than not but when you do see people making progress it reinforces why you do what you do. That light bulb moment is priceless.

Finally, I have to philosophies in life.

Fredrick Douglass once said: I is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

And

Napoleon Hill said: If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.

As a social worker I work with families to provide a foundation that will foster healthy, strong and productive adults. Lastly, not everyone can be the leader of a movement or become president and enact major social change. However, every person has the ability to do something insignificant to themselves that may be significant for someone else. I am very lucky to be living my passion.

 

This In Itself Is Humbling.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” ― Ernest Hemingway

There is no shortage of blogs and articles about the new year and how to “be a new you” this year. Considering the theme of my blog is about mental wellness, I wanted to type out a few tips for a good year. Like most, I want this “new year new me” feeling to last all year. Side note: I hate “new year new me” announcements. It wasn’t until just yesterday I realized why. I find announcing to the world “new year new me” attention seeking. Seeking attention is a huge turn off for me. But I love when people decide to better themselves and work who they are as a person. I always encourage folks to do that year round.

So I have about six habits one should do in the new year (or at any time in the year) to add to their over all wellness.

 

  1. Say “Yes” more often.

A couple of years ago I told myself I would not deny myself from activities or experience because I was fearful or thought I would not like something. Saying “Yes” to events, people, or experiences that you have not done before is a great way to get you out of your comfort zone. Life is about growing and expanding your comforts. Take a trip, try a new employment opportunity, start school; examples such as these will assist you in expanding your comfort zone. Its a cliché but life cannot be lived on the side lines.

2. Tell people “No” and do not feel guilty about it.

At this point you might be asking yourself isn’t this contradictory to the first point. Its truly not. Too often people pleasers only go along with something because they are afraid of disappointing someone. You have to recognize not everyone is looking out for your best interest and only want what they can get out of you. Be selective with those who you say yes too. If a person wants something from you and its not something you are comfortable with, or its not feasible for you, or anything else do not be afraid to tell them no. Remember “no” is a complete answer in itself.

3. Learn to do activities alone.

For many the thought of being alone is scary. (Note; there is a difference between being alone and lonely) Being alone is healthy and normal. Being alone isn’t good for a person and isn’t healthy. Reach out for help if you are lonely. However, being alone is normal. We need that time to recharge and to regroup. Going to a movie, reading a book, or going on a run is a good way for a person to recharge. Learn to like yourself alone or other will not be able to tolerate you n a group.

4. Be more specific about your intentions and desires.

Too often we do not properly communicate what we want from others. We must be direct with people. We have to remember people cannot read minds. You cannot read other people’s minds so why do you think other people can read your mind. Be specific. If you are upset with a person share your feelings. Be honest. Its not a sign of weakness. It saves heart ache and grief. If someone is bothering you its best for find a way to communicate this without escalating the situation and do not keep it bottled up so that you eventually blow up.

5.  Learn a new skill or hobby.

Broadening your horizons is important. Personal growth is important. One way to do this is by learning a new skill. Take a class, learn a new language, join a club or gym, anything that will help you step out of your comfort zone. It is a good idea to do something that would translate into an employment opportunity. Bettering yourself in this fashion could also pay off with better opportunities.

6. Be more aware of how you come across to folks.

Being self aware is very important. If you are more aware of your mannerism it can help you connect with others. If you come across as aloof, angry, bored, or happy it affects how others will respond to you. Monitor your body language and other nonverbal queues. Remember to smile more. Stand straighter. Look people in the eyes. All of these non verbal actions can dictate how people respond to you.

 

These tips can help you live a better life all year round. Everyone wants to be their best self. These tips are a good start. Add any tips you may have in the comment section.

““The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are.” – Jim Morrison

I am a behavioral scientist. I am a student of psychology and love understanding people. I have spent many years learning how to better understand myself.  I mean what really makes me tick. Every trick I learned about studying people I applied to myself. I wanted to compile a few facts about my personality type. This is a more personal blog than I normally write but I thought it would be fun. $$

The most scientific test one can take to determine personality is Myers Brigg. It is the test most employers use to gauge candidates for employment. Here is a link to a test if you’re curious about your personality types (http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp). There are many combinations of personality types.

My personality type is ISFJ. ISFJ is an abbreviation for Introvert, Sensing, Feeling, & Judging.

  • Introversion (I): ISFJs are introverted and tend to be quiet and reserved.
  • Sensing (S): ISFJs prefer concrete information rather than abstract theories.
  • Feeling (F): ISFJs place a greater emphasis on personal considerations rather than objective information.
  • Judging (J): ISFJs are planners and tend to be very well-organized.

This is a snap shot of my personality type. When I read this I noticed a contradiction among those traits that I feel but couldn’t put into words. You see, I am an extreme type person. I either really love something or can’t stand it. I usually am never neutral about anything. I am a critical thinker that thrives on facts and data but can be an emotional sentimental wreck. I often feel like a hypocrite. I tend to divide people into extremes. So when I took the Myers Brigg I was excited to see my observations translated into a personality type and to boot about 14% of the population has my same personality (1).

The biggest contradiction is the “Sensing” and “Feeling” portion. I love facts and concrete information. It’s how I determine my decisions. I’m very calculated. However, I also am an emotional person. I think with my heart. I always think of others. It’s very confusing.

I am an introverted person. I tend to draw my energy from within and become very tired from too much social interaction. I find small talk an exhausting chore. I’m not good at it and avoid it at all cost. I tend to fare better in one on one conversation and like to talk about personal matters.

Judging is very appropriate. I plan and organize. I obsess over details. I execute my plans with precision.  I get excited when things go as I plan them.

I’ve compiled some research together to give a more in depth look at what being an ISFJ is like.

“The ISFJ personality type is quite unique, as many of their qualities defy the definition of their individual traits. Though possessing the Feeling (F) trait, ISFJs have excellent analytical abilities; though Introverted (I), they have well-developed people skills and robust social relationships; and though they are a Judging (J) type, ISFJs are often receptive to change and new ideas.”(2)

“ISFJs need to know when to say no and stand up for themselves if they are to maintain their confidence and enthusiasm. Naturally social, an odd quality for Introverts, ISFJs utilize excellent memories not to retain data and trivia, but to remember people, and details about their lives.” (2)

“ISFJs enjoy structure and strive to maintain this order in all areas of their lives. While people with this personality type are introverted and tend to be quiet, they are keen observers and are focused on other people. Because they are so perceptive, ISFJs are good at remembering details about other people. Those with this personality type are particularly well-tuned in to the emotions and feelings of others.” (1)

Also, the most common career choices for ISFJs are Social Workers. I chose the Social Work profession long before I knew anything about being an ISFJ. It delighted me to find that I am almost meant for my career. It certainly validated my choice.

Finally, here are some famous ISFJ: Bruce Willis, Halle Berry, Kanye West, Kate Middleton Kim Kardashian, Rosa Parks, Prince Charles, Mitt Romney, Mother Teresa

It’s safe to say that I am in good hands. I’m in the company of Presidents, Royalty, Social Advocates, and Politicians.

I thought this would be a fun way to write about myself. I compiled some information about my personality type. Its scientific in nature. I rely on this information much more than zodiac signs. At times my need for organization and structure outweighs other needs in my life.  I value personal relationships at all times. I tend to analyze them too much. I want to feel a connection with people. I judge my relationship with people based on how much we share emotions. I prefer intimate conversations. I thrive in small groups. I’m loyal and take my responsibilities seriously.

Lastly, during my research, I found this very exciting. It is extremely true. I put a lot of value on my ability to gift give:

“When it comes to gift-giving, ISFJs have no equal, using their imagination and natural sensitivity to express their generosity in ways that touch the hearts of their recipients.” (2)

This In Itself Is Humbling

“This Too Shall Pass” -Unknown

Rarely do I ever need to remind myself of this quote. I have had this mentality as long as I can remember. I tend to be optimistic about things. I am not naïve about the world. I see reality but I have lived long enough to know that most things are temporary.

That includes the good things, not just the bad. Life seems to be a balancing act of good and bad events and everyone of them has not lasted. It passed.

I have this unyielding belief that things get better. I believe I was born with that disposition but chose a long time ago to nurture it.

You can chose to see the world two ways:

1) Life is good with some bad events.

or

2) Life is bad with some good events.

Every human falls into one of those categories. Obviously one is more  harmful than the other. And it is all temporary.

It bring comfort to me to know that the negative events that happen to me are not forever. The sun will really come out tomorrow. Metaphorically at least. I know that a few bad days strung together might make a terrible week but my month can still be good. Its all about perspective.

Asking yourself questions like “Why Me?” only perpetuates a negative attitude. It also demonstrates the thought process that you are above hardship. No one is above hardship. Everyone will suffer. Instead ask “Why not me?”. I do not mean that in an excited way but instead mean it as a way to put things into perspective. There are over seven billion people on the planet. Negative things are happening to someone somewhere. Its bound to catch up with you sooner or later. But on the same side of that coin, good things happen as well. Life’s pleasures happen to you as well. Humans tend to only focus on the negative events, which reinforces our beliefs that negative things are always happening to us.

It is my opinion that we focus more on negative events largely because it feeds the innate insecurity that humanity has. Obviously there are more things in play than insecurity but I believe that is the most driving force in all of humanity. Even love.  However, that is for another topic at a later time.

The proverb “This Too Shall Pass” should be a reminder that negative events do not last. They are finite. They appear for a small time and then vanish. Sure the effects may be felt long after they are gone but healing may occur. Life goes on; as Robert Frost pointed out. Also, “This Too Shall Pass” should help us understand even good things do not last. We should be appreciating them as we have them. The people in our lives. The time we spend with those people. Even our material blessings.

I read a meme once that affirmed if you count her blessings and material things are among them then you do not know what blessings are. While I agree material things are not the most important of blessings, I believe they are still blessings. Any good thing in one’s life is a blessing and maybe some of the bad too.

It is my hope that we remember that bad things happen but not forever. Good things come into our lives and also leave. We should just be thankful we have the experiences that shape who we have become. For even those awful experiences add to ourselves. You can learn and grow as a person. You can work towards being better for it. You can choose optimism.

This In Itself Is Humbling.

“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.” ― Tahereh Mafi

Loneliness and aloneness sound similar. In fact, they share the root word “Lone”. Which is defined as “having no companions; solitary or single”.

However, these two concept are very different.

For one, being alone is a physical state. While being lonely is an emotional state.

Being alone is healthy. Don’t confuse voluntary aloneness to isolation. Isolation isn’t healthy and should be avoided. However, having alone time is rewarding, gratifying, and normal. When you are alone you can work on project, hobbies, or do some of your best thinking. Generally, people crave come level of aloneness.

Some need more or less aloneness than other people. Largely, your desired level of aloneness depends if you tend to be more introverted or extroverted. Introverts require less human interaction and therefore flourish when they have alone time. Its their time to recharge.

People use there alone time to make important decisions, unwind, and become more of the person they want to be. Overall, aloneness is something that everyone can relate to. We all need time to our self.

However, loneliness is an emotional state. It can create emotional pain, crippling emotional pain. From time to time everyone feels lonely. Chronic loneliness creates many problems. Some loneliness is so destructive a person may be in a crowded place but feel as if they are the only person on the plant.

People that feel that way are experiencing emotional pain. Some emotional pain can hurt much worse that physical pain. Even more so, emotional pain can translate into physical pain.

We never know the battles that people having going on in their soul. A dangerous place to be, in someone’s soul. And yet its what we all say we want, intimacy on that level.

A simple expression of out reach could lessen that burden for someone. We should be striving to make people feel loved, accepted, and wanted.

We can achieve this one person at a time. Lets make the world a better place.

This in itself is humbling.