Are you hoarding yourself?

I have been doing research on the topic of hoarding as I prepare to conduct future “sensitivity trainings” for governmental agencies involved with the Hoarding Task Force, as well as law enforcement and the judicial system. In doing so I have interviewed a number of professionals from mental health, fire services, adult protective services, social workers, public defenders, child protective services and others. They all have interesting perspectives and are focused to do their job to “protect the community”, while assuring people are safe and abiding by the health and safety codes. While compiling notes for a new book, I began writing the definitions of hoarding according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual DSM-5 that is used to define mental health disorders. These are very serious issues. As a mental health professional, I understand the criteria that defines the mental health disorder we term as ‘hoarder’. There are many who have seen television programs revealing peoples lives with scenes of chaos and disorganization, with an over abundance of things in every area of their home. Therefore the term hoarder may bring up a negative image. Now for a paradigm shift. If someone were to say to you, ‘Express yourself”. Let your actions speak for you. Don’t hoard what you are! What would they mean? Actually it is a great thing to say to someone. We all have gifts within that can be shared with others and perhaps even make a great contribution to society. Are you hoarding yourself?

2 thoughts on “Are you hoarding yourself?

  1. Paradigm shifts related to sharing are not always welcomed. As the popular Uber app ride-sharing phenomenon spread from San Francisco to across the world it has upset taxi companies and taxing authorities who fear loss of revenue. Riders pay the online ride-sharing network for the ride, which enriches the network and the driver. Uber is a hybrid of egalitarian sharing and business enterprise. The foes of Uber promote fear in drivers and riders that they may become the victims of predators. On the other hand, carpooling also denies revenue to taxis and taxers, but it is an encouraged form of sharing; it is even granted special privileges like diamond lanes and waiver of tolls; it is encouraged because it reduces traffic and pollution. A carpool isn’t a business enterprise, even though a carpool rider may chip in for gas. Carpools are accepted forms of sharing.

    When we share ourselves, we also hope to be accepted. Our hope may be timid because in the past we’ve experienced negative reaction to sharing of ourselves. We’ve developed an expectation that if we share ourselves with the world we must face blowback from those who feel we are encroaching on their turf or stealing their limelight or violating their sensibilities. Overcoming the fear of potential blowback may be more of an impediment to sharing ourselves than the blowback itself. As a child I quickly learned to stay afloat and “swim” after I jumped off the diving board for the first time at the public pool. My mother, when she saw me jump, caused a commotion when she jumped up from her chair and screamed to the life guard, “He can’t swim!” I splashed, and dog-paddled, and survived just fine. It was an exhilarating moment for me. And it was a coup against the paradigm that held me back.

    Our actions may step on toes, our expressions may be rebuffed, and we may cross boundaries. A tagger or graffiti artist does not first seek permission from others to spray-paint his expressions on other people’s walls. Are we as bold? Shall we dare express ourselves without first seeking permission from others? Shall we take the risk and let the chips fall where they may? What is holding us back?

    • I have determined I can no longer live my life with the approval or permission of another. This does not mean I will be selfish and abandon my responsibilities. While I am free and able to do so I desire to take care of business, in addition have time to be creative, meet new people and be with others that are like minded. I have been trained to hang around with those smarter than I so that I can continue to grow and increase my knowledge and talents. I realize others may or may not agree with my thoughts and that what makes us all unique, authentic, and individual. As far as risks, I am continually stepping out of the norm to explore what is available and see if it is something I would like to embrace, explore, or become a part of for a season. I have found there are two reasons that may hold us back, one may be wisdom if bad choices are involved, or fear of others, or fear of failure, fear of success, or fear of the unfamiliar. One way or the other it is fear based.

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