Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Opinion on Homosexuality and Gay Marriage

I usually keep quiet on political issues.  I do this for several reasons.  The most important reason is I just don’t like political debate and I tend to have intolerance for those with differing political views.  The secondary reason is what I do for a living:  it is important to keep neutral so that people will feel comfortable, either in a therapy session or in our retail store, no matter what their beliefs , lifestyle or sins happen to be. 
However, I can no longer keep quiet.  What my opinions are may not be popular in Oklahoma and beyond.  Those who know me well, however, know that I am not known for saying what’s popular or for keeping my opinions to myself. 
If I thought that I ever benefitted from someone believing that I agreed with their beliefs that potentially discriminate against people whom I hold near and dear, I could not live with myself.  So, here are my opinions about homosexuality, gay marriage and businesses that publicly espouse ideas that feed hatred and discrimination. 
First of all, if you are against gay marriage, then I suggest you do not marry a gay person.  I see no reason to take that much of a stand on the issue, except to say, I can’t imagine an argument against a loving committed partner in a relationship being entitled to the legal status that comes with being married.  I invite anyone to tell me how this could affect me negatively. 
I do support freedom of speech.  When that freedom invites others to be divisive, hateful and promote discrimination, then I will not support the business that espouses that hate. 
I am a Christian, though at times I question whether Christian beliefs fit with my view of the world.  I am no Bible scholar, so I offer the article by someone who is.  “What the New Testament Says about Homosexuality”  Read if you care to, I believe it offers a learned opinion on the subject. 
I believe being a Christian means being loving and kind, even to those who have beliefs that differ from mine.  I believe it means supporting others who are loving and kind.  In my opinion, gay marriage supports this. 
If you believe that gay people are diabolical and evil, then you do not know the gay couples that I know, some of whom are the best parents I’ve ever encountered.  That may not have given birth to those children, but they do something, that in some ways is nobler, they are foster parents and adoptive parents to children whose birth parents have abused, abandoned or given up on them.  If you believe that gay people need God’s intervention, then pray for them.  Ask for God’s will to be done and then leave it in God’s hands.  That is what I will do for those who promote hatred of any of God’s children.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Compassion Fatigue: Caring for the caregivers

Caring too much can hurt. When caregivers focus on others without practicing self-care, destructive behaviors can surface. Apathy, isolation, bottled up emotions and substance abuse head a long list of symptoms associated with the secondary traumatic stress disorder now labeled: Compassion Fatigue
While the effects of Compassion Fatigue can cause pain and suffering, learning to recognize and manage its symptoms is the first step toward healing. The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project© is dedicated to educating caregivers about authentic, sustainable self-care and aiding organizations in their goal of providing healthy, compassionate care to those whom they serve.
This site has numerous resources we have found for caregivers working in many professions. The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project© also offers original training materials, workbooks, and texts through our parent organization, Healthy Caregiving LLC. Please visit the new site at:
What is Compassion Fatigue?
Studies confirm that caregivers play host to a high level of compassion fatigue. Day in, day out, workers struggle to function in care giving environments that constantly present heart wrenching, emotional challenges. Affecting positive change in society, a mission so vital to those passionate about caring for others, is perceived as elusive, if not impossible. This painful reality, coupled with first-hand knowledge of society's flagrant disregard for the safety and well-being of the feeble and frail, takes its toll on everyone from full time employees to part time volunteers. Eventually, negative attitudes prevail.
Compassion Fatigue symptoms are normal displays of chronic stress resulting from the care giving work we choose to do. Leading traumatologist Eric Gentry suggests that people who are attracted to care giving often enter the field already compassion fatigued. A strong identification with helpless, suffering, or traumatized people or animals is possibly the motive. It is common for such people to hail from a tradition of what Gentry labels: other-directed care giving. Simply put, these are people who were taught at an early age to care for the needs of others before caring for their own needs. Authentic, ongoing self-care practices are absent from their lives.
If you sense that you are suffering from compassion fatigue, chances are excellent that you are. Your path to wellness begins with one small step: awareness. A heightened awareness can lead to insights regarding past traumas and painful situations that are being relived over and over within the confines of your symptoms and behaviors. With the appropriate information and support, you can embark on a journey of discovery, healing past traumas and pain that currently serve as obstacles to a healthy, happier lifestyle.
Many resources are available to help you recognize the causes and symptoms of compassion fatigue. Healing begins by employing such simple practices as regular exercise, healthy eating habits, enjoyable social activities, journaling, and restful sleep. Hopefully, the information on this website will be of use to you and help you jump-start your process.
Accepting the presence of compassion fatigue in your life only serves to validate the fact that you are a deeply caring individual. Somewhere along your healing path, the truth will present itself: You don't have to make a choice. It is possible to practice healthy, ongoing self-care while successfully continuing to care for others.
© 2012 Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Do You Want to be Right or Do You Want to be Happy?

I can't take credit for that phrase, have heard it for years in the arena of couple's counseling.  But I have been thinking about it a lot lately.  It has so many applications in our lives and, I think, many times we fail to consider its implications.

It is the same basic principle as "don't sweat the small stuff" when it comes to being in a relationship.  Those that we are in a relationship with do things that annoy, mystify and infuriate us.  We need to learn to separate out the annoying from the infuriating and need to know when to leave the mystifying as a mystery.  We are not always going to understand the other person.  We do not have to always like what they do.  We may disagree on occasion, but if we point out every mistake that they make, we may end up alone.  And, even if you are right about an issue, your method of communicating it to the other person and your inability to let it go, may make you and the other person more miserable and not solve a thing.

In any situation you have to ask yourself what the goal is.  Is the goal to win a fight, resolve an issue or conflict,  mend a friendship, build a relationship,  end a relationship?   What you want out of the conversation dictates how you approach it.

Whatever your goal, remember the words you choose, the tone you use, the volume, the eye contact is all a reflection of you.  By always treating others with respect, you show them and you utmost respect.  After all, being respectful is the first step in being respected. 

As always, I'd love to hear from you and what works or doesn't.  If you are in need of a speaker or would like to enter into counseling, please visit for more details about my practice.