“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.

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“Everything I learned I learned from the movies” -Audrey Hepburn

At one time, just a few years ago, I hated movies. I’m not exactly sure what the deal was but I did not like watching movies and I did not care to go to theaters. Crazy, I know. It was about four years ago that I changed my mind. My brother and I decided to make a list of movies and see them throughout the year. Since then we’ve done it every year.

I say all of this because throughout this process movies have come one of my favorite things on the plant. I think going to the movies became a coping skill for me. It was an experience and if you let yourself you could immerse yourself into a two hour break.

Movies are magical. Most of them are wonderful storey telling. I love movies that captivate and make you feel things. A good movie makes the viewer forget they are watching a movie. A good movie can make you angry, joyful, prideful, saddened, and hopeful.

I get swiped up in movies sometimes. I’m not prejudice to movies. My favorite type of movie to view is in the theaters. I enjoy the surround sound, the big screen, the previews, and the collective reaction for the audience. It’s nice to know that you are experiencing similar emotions with a group of people A shared moment of whatever that particular emotion is.

I even enjoy TV movies. I was raised on Lifetime movies. I remember a handful. I remember one called Dawn Anna. It was about the volleyball coach of Columbine High School. The movie chronicled her life. I remember watching a movie with Kristie Allen. She portrayed a person with intellectual disabilities. Her character married another individual with intellectual disability and the premise of the movie was should they have children. I also remember watching a movie about a Trans teen that was brutally beat to death and the boys guilty of doing so buried his body in a field and then went to have breakfast at a waffle house. Each movie evoked a strong reaction and I vividly remember they shaped my opinions about different issues.

Tonight, I saw London Has Fallen, the sequel to Olympus Had Fallen. I loved OHF and wanted to see LHF. Of course sequels don’t usually compare well to the original. London Has Fallen was good but I liked OHF more. LHF evoked emotions of patriotism and justice. I love those movies because the main character takes no prisoners. I’d recommend it.

But what I love the most is the story telling. I believe movie making is an art and an extension of books. Movies accomplish the same things that books look to achieve. They change us, encourage us, and heal us. The story telling that comes from movie magic helps us feel we aren’t alone.

 

This In Itself Is Humbling

“America is the story of everyday people who did extraordinary things. A story woven deep into the fabric of our society. ” Marco Rubio

I attended my first political rally today. Marco Rubio came to Franklin, Tennessee, which is about 1 hour and ten minutes from my home. It is a total of 78 miles from my drive way to the Embassy Suites where the rally was held.

My experience was very good. My group and I arrived early and were able to position ourselves in a good spot. I’d say I was fifteen to twenty feet from Rubio. As we arrived it was immediately apparent that the number of people who were showing up was huge. As we checked in we learned the number of folks coming was more than the venue could hold so they moved the event to the parking lot right outside the hotel. One of the speakers advised they had 4000 register but thought the crowd looked more like five to six thousand folks.

As I said, we arrived early. As I was waiting with my sister I observed the crowd, listened to some conversation, and met a lady who emigrated from Japan thirty five years ago. Her and her husband had driven from Jackson, Tennessee, which is easily a two and a half hour drive west. I must confess we spoke for an hour on many subjects but I never got her name. She spoke of the differences between the United States and Japan and how she wanted to raise her children in America. What struck me was she truly appreciated the fact she lives in the greatest country in the world. I found her interesting.

Then the event started and the three speakers warmed the crowd up for Marco Rubio. Rubio came out and gave a fifty minute speech detailing his agenda if he were president. However, he kept true to his theme of unity and connectedness. He spoke about being a president for all people, including the ones that don’t like him. He even joked about lowering their taxes too. At times when candidates speak about unity it may fall on deaf ears. Each candidates hopes to bridge different communities but never has the ability. Marco Rubio is different.

I observed many different types of people at today’s event. I saw old people and young people. I saw White people, Black people, and Hispanic people. I saw women and men. I saw veterans and disabled people. I saw folks with what looked like Indian background. I saw what America is founded on, people of different backgrounds coming together for a common goal. Everyone in the crowd was there to support their candidate and hear his vision and plan for America. The crowd was enthusiastic and in turn made Rubio comfortable. As he spoke about inclusion and the new face of the Republican Party I saw what he sees, the evidence for this new party. It is clear he sees a turning tide and has the ability to harness it in his favor. As I listened to him speaking passionately about his vision of America, I thought of the lady standing next to me and the story she told me about her life in Japan and her immigrating to this country. It parallels Rubio’s parent’s story and their efforts to attain the American Dream. In a few words that is what Marco Rubio wants to do for the American People. He wants to make available the same American Dream that his parent obtained for themselves. It was quite a moment.

My first political rally will be a good memory to reflect on. An intense feeling washes over a person when they say the Pledge of Allegiance with five thousand people or cheering on the impassioned words of someone whom you share your beliefs and vision for the country.

Marco Rubio is optimistic, inclusive, and passionate. All of which is what we need for a New American Century. If you are interested in his policies, I’d visit his website: www.marcorubio.com

rubio

“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.

“On some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are.” – John Green

Society has a problem with devaluing other people. Pop cultured is littered with examples of people diminishing other people to their labels. Songs, movies, and books often show case humans as only their race, religion, sexual preference, disability, or gender. Those tend to be more the popularly used groups of division.

The problem with only seeing someone as the label that has been placed on them is we tend to forget their personhood. They become one dimensional. We stop thinking of people as three dimensional beings with independent lives. They have their own experiences, problems, and triumphs.

Its easy to do because we see people in one way. Typically, we have an image of what a person is like and only think of them in those terms. For example, for my readers who have friends with children, I would imagine when you are around your friends you only see them and experience them as your friend. If their children are not around you see them as you always have. However, if you are around them and their children, you will see them differently. They are going to be caring for their child. You see a different side to this person, adding depth to the person you know.

You see five people can know the same person but each of those five people knows that one person differently. To the point that one person can be seen as five different people. No one’s experience with anyone person is the same.

Furthermore, when we use derogatory names for people we are furthering the dehumanization for that person.  When you call a person an insult, racial slur, homophobic term, or other dehumanizing terms you are separating your ability to connect their humanness with that person.

Its as if you are looking at that singular person as a large group of people. Your thoughts and reactions to that one person are shaped by your biases for the collective group. That is very dangerous thinking. That line of thinking may lead to mob mentality. People in large numbers commit their actions because they feel validated, anonymous, and have shared biases. People will commit behavior they normally other wise wouldn’t do in large crowds. In a large crowd people lose their own sense of humanness furthering the disconnect between you and the other person.

There are four steps we can take to ensure that the devaluation of people can be stopped.

  1. Use the person’s name. Never just use pronouns. If you are upset with a person using their name is a subconscious way of reminding yourself you are dealing with another person. Also, not using insults will very much do the same thing.
  2. Never reduce someone to their illness, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion. People are so much more than those labels. They have opinions, emotions, thoughts, insecurities. People bleed when cut. They do everything you do when hurt.
  3. Understand that the way you see someone is not the way someone else sees them. They way you understand and know them is not the same way others know or understand them. This adds the dimensional aspect to a person.
  4. Respect an individual’s personhood. You are a person that demands to be heard, respected, and has desire to be understood. We should work every day to provide the same to other folks.

Humans are naturally ego syntonic. People are very selfish and immediately see how every situation is going to affect them before they move forward. Frankly, its a survival skills. Without it humans would not be alive as long as they have been. However, we have to deal with the consequences of that innate biological feature.

In the rising tension filled political, racial, religious climate we are experiencing, I believe it’s important to follow the above guidelines. We must not forget that the people we come into contact with are just as complex as we are. We need to recognize and respect their complexity. Let’s work towards a society that understands this.

This In Itself Is Humbling.

““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

“I have the not altogether unsatisfying impression that civilisation is collapsing around me.” – Theodore Dalrymple

One of the many topics I write about is the decline of the American Family. I believe it is the most important social institution in society. I believe the breakdown of the family unit is the catalyst for many social problems. It affects everything from poverty, crime, and education. Recently, a rape case became sensationalized and covered via the news. A 19 year old man was accused of raping a 15 year old girl. They were both students at a private school. In fact the boy had graduated. The school’s student’s had a tradition called “senior salute” in which senior males attempted to see who could take the most virginity of freshman girls. Ultimately the 19 year old was found guilty of a felony but not rape.  Likely, he will spend some time in prison and will be on the sex offender’s registry. The consequences of sexual immorality are steep and yet society, especially young people, treats sex as disposable as everything else in this culture. I am a firm believer in personal responsibility. I don’t care what others say or society does, we all have to the ability to make our own choices and live with the consequences.  The 19 year old did wrong and doesn’t have excuses. However, there are some ways to combat the issues with sexual immorality in our culture.

The first issue in our society is the over sexualization of women and men. Women are hit with the brunt of this problem A woman is judged on her sexuality by everyone, including other women. A woman or a man’s worth is not determined by their physical appearance. Unfortunately, all forms of media focus on a person’s sexual appeal. Hardees is a good example of this behavior. Remember the salad commercial they did with Kim Kardashian. She ate a salad in her underwear. This behavior only reinforces to boys that girls/women are sexual objects. Its counterproductive to respecting women. Even if a woman is consenting or it’s her idea, men don’t respect it. Until we as a society stop determining value based on sexual desire we will continue to have issues of sexual immorality.

Secondly, society teaches women not to get raped instead of teaching men to be rapists. Often the victim is blamed. Her clothes, make up, and cognitive state is used against her. This argument is stupid. No decision a victim of rape makes affects if they are raped. Rape is a crime and decided by one party. Otherwise its consensual sex. Society should be teaching everyone to respect each other’s bodies, understand no means no. She isn’t being coy and her being drunk isn’t your magical ticket to a good time. My advice to anyone would be is to take your safety seriously. If you get drunk have a friend look after you and be aware of your surroundings. One final thought, if both parties are drunk and the victim is too drunk to consent so is the initiator, regardless of gender.  Attitudes about sex and gender should be egalitarian.

Finally, society wants unrestricted sexual freedoms. Society wants no judgments about sexual behaviors. Our culture has become the one of hookups. Apps and website for discrete encounters are rampant. It’s a selfish way to see the world. How can one expect young people to not react in heinous ways when our culture pushes sexual immorality like they do? Without constraint our society views sexual matters more and more in a disposable fashion. Just recently, Ashley Madison, a site for men looking to cheat on a spouse, was hacked. It highlights the attitude of sexual freedom in this culture. People want what they want when they want it. It’s destructive. Sexual freedom has to be contained. People should be placing value on their virginity.

American society is obsessed with sex. It seems kids are getting pregnant at younger and younger ages. We celebrate this instead of educating the importance of celibacy. Sexual desire is natural and shouldn’t be suppressed but should be expressed in the proper ways. More specifically, a monogamous married relationship. I realize I sound like a prude but the truth is if society didn’t over sexualize people, teach different gender roles for people, and have a desire for complete sexual freedom we wouldn’t see such a rapid decline in American society.