I should probably start this off by saying that this is satire. It is not true. I love satire and sarcasm and this article was a great subtle combination of both. That being said, texting and driving is dangerous and should not be done. There have been many times I’ve seen people almost drive off the road because they were buried in their phones or other devices and their attention was split. That being said, if you have absolutely no multi-tasking ability putting your phone away while you drive is a good idea. If you happen to have that ability, stop lights and stop signs are probably the better option for texting instead of doing it while speeding at 75 mph down the highway. Less chance for error. Just saying.
So the month of March is Social Work month so I thought that I should post something related to that. To be honest, I didn’t want to be a social worker growing up. I wanted to go to medical school and be an ER doctor. Unfortunately my high school education in the sciences was very skimpy. I took Algebra I and II and Biology. No chemistry whatsoever. Needless to say, I quickly realized after my first Biology class that I was missing a whole lot of the fundamentals. To be honest I had no idea what I wanted my major to be as I began to prepare to move away from home and start college. While I knew that I wanted to go to medical school, I knew that I didn’t want to major in the sciences. I remember standing in the registration line for college and when I got to the counter the registration lady asked what major I wanted to declare. For some reason the words “social work” came out my mouth and I just stuck with it. I did this with the understanding (at least in my head) that I would just take all the classes needed in order to ensure my admission into medical school. However I soon realized that without any reference point in the sciences, I would have a hard time taking the necessary classes and actually passing them. So I did what any person with common sense would do—quickly formulated a plan B. I decided that the social sciences were more suited for me and they held my interest. One of the things that I like about social work is that it’s very person centered and takes the individual, their background, and their environment into consideration. The field is so diverse and there are a lot of opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. While I love the other social sciences, I’m appreciative of my social work education because it is fairly practice based and while there are mounds of paperwork, many times I get the chance to actually interact with people and implement interventions that improve their quality of life.
I’m not going to lie, as a fairly young adult I don’t think about my mortality on a adult basis. Growing up I went to more funerals than most people have been to in their lives. It was always really sobering. This week on the wake of basking in the achievement of another significant professional stepping stone in my career, I was reminded of how previous life is. One of my jobs entails working the elderly population in a residential setting. This week I lost one of my patients. And by lost I mean that the patient died. As someone who is trained to intervene in situations in order to ensure safety and prevent death, providing emotional support as someone is dying is a new challenge. You find yourself going beyond your job description in order to do small things that might improve quality of life. To experience of starting a shift and seeing a patient alive to hours later when their body is rolled out by the mortuary technician is so sobering. I say all this to say that you never know how your actions can impact someone. Many times we are quick to talk about how we should have done things differently but how it’s too late. Hug your loved ones and tell them you love them. Express love and appreciation while they’re alive.
I love this humorous yet somewhat true description of introverts. Granted it’s not all encompassing, we all know someone who fits at least one of the descriptors. I’m pretty introverted for the most part. Surprisingly, I actually like speaking in front of people and doing presentations. I’m a behind-the-scenes sort of person and I don’t seek out the spotlight. However, if the spotlight shines on me, I’m usually prepared and ready. I honestly can’t stand meaningless conversations. I feel as if they’re a waste of my time and energy but I have them on a regular basis because despite the fact that I find them mundane, many times they are necessary in order to bridge the gap into more meaningful conversations. I think that the world needs a mixture of both extroverts and introverts because while those personality types can clash they can also complement each other. A quiet person with a loud person can be a great combination because they won’t try to out-talk each other.
One of my goals this year is to travel more and I haven’t been the greatest at that as yet. This weekend I took my first trip this year. I was a kid that grew up traveling all over the Southeast and Midwest area of the United States. Sadly, these trips usually included of 12 hours or more of riding in a van. As I got older and learned to drive, the trips were more enjoyable because I could actually do something instead of sleeping or reading in the car. My siblings and I had some great experiences exploring the downtown areas of different cities and going to various museums and zoos. Even today, while I like going to my tried and true favorite spots, I also love to go places I’ve never gone before and have a totally new experience. The problem with traveling for me is that it takes probably about six weeks of planning in order to make it happen. While I am spontaneous and I like spur of the moment stuff, living in the middle of nowhere really puts a damper on that. I have to coordinate all my job schedules, find a place for my dog, ensure that I have no prior obligations, and plan for flights and transportation. In addition, this also includes doing school work in advance and then doubling up when I get home in order to ensure that I don’t fall behind in assignments. All of this can easily become a logistical nightmare. However, there are few happy feelings that beat walking onto the elongated trailer thingy that connects to the plane. The start of a new adventure and a chance for new experiences and people. I’m determined to have more of that this year. Despite all the logistics and financial challenges, life is too short to feel trapped in the middle of nowhere. I’m traveling more this year.
This article was so interesting to me because the author took the time to break down what (he) thinks it takes for a woman to marry. Granted, while he (supposedly) is quoting information from a book, there is absolutely no citations or references at the end of the article. Despite this, the article was very direct and organized and makes a lot of sense. I have to admit that my favorite part was the quote about making getting a husband a priority after age 30 and not being the last person to “get off the bus” in terms of matrimony. Overall, I think that there’s some great advice that one can take away from the author’s perspective. Plus, it’s an easy read.
One thing that I’ve noticed or rather observed is the lack of boundaries and structure that some parents today have. While there are several reasons for these actions, one of the causes that I’ve noticed is that of guilt. Going through an unexpected event, a nasty divorce, deciding to go back to school, or even working more hours at work can cause a lot of parental guilt. As a result, and maybe even subconsciously, these parents because extremely permissive and relax most of the structure in their home. This is done because they feel guilty and they want to make up for the time they aren’t spending with their child, their new single parent status or even because they have too many other priorities. However they don’t realize that they’ll end up hurting the kid more than helping him or her. I’ve noticed that extremely permissive parents who enforce no boundaries or structures because of guilt as a child is little, soon find themselves on the edge of sanity once adolescence hits. Their kid doesn’t respect them or take them seriously. They feel guilty about enforcing boundaries because it’s something that they never implemented in the first place. Their pleas for the teenager to change his or her behavior fall on deaf ears because they haven’t established enough rapport or even a relationship that requires mutual respect and communication. These parents often find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place in a situation that could have been avoided if they hadn’t allowed their guilt to get in the way of being a parent. However, family therapy can be a great way to start the process of restructuring some of the family dynamics and even making room for some effective communication along the way.
Safety is something that is at the forefront of our minds a lot of the time. Whether it’s looking both ways before crossing the street, parking in a lighted area, or buying a concealed weapon for your house. We hate being caught off guard. However our emotional safety is important as well. Working in mental health “not feeling safe” a way that a lot of people express the fact that they are not in a good emotional space and they’re afraid that they may do something impulsive. Rarely do people get to feeling this way without some type of cause. It could be stress in their relationship, work, or even something in their childhood that happened and they are just now remembering. They are vulnerable and they’re reaching out for help. Emotional safety can be defined differently by different people. You’ll notice that when someone feels emotionally safe they are much more likely to open up and being genuine with themselves and others. They are also more likely to show vulnerability. This is why many times you don’t know who someone really is until you’ve known them for a few years and they feel comfortable with you. Feeling emotionally safe can sometimes be harder with those you’re close to than with perfect strangers. Think of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous where people incredible vulnerable about their addictions and struggles but still get to remain somewhat anonymous. That being said, I have so much respect for people who can be vulnerable about their struggles and experiences in a group of people that they know. Because they are really putting themselves out there in the hope that their vulnerability will inspire and motivate others. In some ways I feel that writing a book where you’re vulnerable and speaking in a group of people with that same level of vulnerability is something totally different. As a therapist, I know that vulnerability is one of the best emotions in the therapy room, but there has to be a high level of emotional safety and if one person is vulnerable and the other person isn’t supportive or doesn’t care, the session quickly becomes counterproductive with both people leaving feeling hurt and upset at the other. This is why the emotional safety of both individuals has to be a priority.
I like Tyler Perry. Despite the fact that I’ve never met him personally, I admire his story have enjoyed the videos that he’s posted. Despite this, I haven’t cared for all of his theater and movie productions. Netflix recently put his movie, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor on their site and I recently watched it for the second time hoping that it would be better. Not so. One of the downfalls to having an actual background and experience being a therapist is that you tend to critique the way that therapy is portrayed on the big screen. However, the movie definitely sheds some light into marriages and portrays a situation that has been repeated in millions of marriages. But first, let’s talk about why Judith (the marriage counselor) feels that it’s necessary to monopolize the entire session with her client telling her a story about her supposed sister who is really herself. Self-disclosure much. But I digress. The breakdown of Judith and Brice’s marriage involves both of them. They are both busy people who are stressed by their jobs but rarely take the time to actually spend with each other. Both feel neglected by the other but they have not discussed this with each other. They have been together for years and have slowly slid into the place where their marriage just “is.” It becomes more of a habit for them than anything else. This is when the problem arises. Harley enters the scene as everything Judith has ever imagined or dream of. You can see in the movie that Judith attempts to seek Brice out for emotional connection but he is closed off and totally blows her off. This rejection is the last straw for Judith who then decides that her life would be better with Harley. The interesting thing is that Brice also makes heartfelt gestures to save the marriage but he is promptly rejected by Judith who has decided that he’s too late and that her decision has already been made. This leads to the demise of the relationship and marriage. The irony of all this is that Judith works as a matchmaker who puts people together. This movie tells the story of millions of people and their marriages. Just because the grass looks different doesn’t always mean that it’s greener. Judith learns this lesson the hard way after she discovers that the man she thinks she loves is not only abusive but also infects her with AIDS. Not the greatest ending ever. I say all this to say that Judith and Brice’s marriage was fix-able. Judith left her husband because of an emotional connection with another and because all her gestures and attempts at connecting with her husband had no results. When she finally realizes what a mistake she’s made it is too late to make amends and her (now) ex-husband belongs to another. It’s taken her too long to come to her senses. The problem is that both took the other for granted until it was too late. They assumed that just because they were married things would work out. They didn’t take the time to actively work on the marriage and to meet the emotional needs of the other and both paid the price of the failed relationship.
One thing that I like to do is conceptualize relationships through an investment perspective. The truth is that some people are good investments and others are not. Sometimes you have to take inventory of who is in your life and if they are assets or liabilities. People who are assets are those who contribute something positive to your life. They listen and genuinely care about your welfare and they are true friends. People who are liabilities seem to suck the life out of you. They take and take and take……and take some more. They are the people who are always asking your for something. They act entitled and never apologize for their actions. In a perfect world, we would never have to deal with these individuals. Dysfunctional relationships wouldn’t exist and people would take responsibility for their actions. However this isn’t the case. The truth is that liability people will always exist in some form. But you can decide to have clear boundaries and get really familiar with the word “no.” Then there are the people who don’t fit into either category. They don’t drain you, but they also don’t contribute to your growth in any way. These people are almost like a tax-deductible donation. A complete write off. But unlike a donation, there’s no tangible or monetary benefit. Ideally, you would want to have more assets than anything else, but in relationship land quality is more important than quantity. This is why it’s important to invest your quality time in people who have proven themselves to be assets. It makes no sense to devote the bulk of your time and energy to the middle people and the liabilities. You won’t have a good rate of return and at the end of the day you won’t have gained anything other than experience.