We had the good fortune of connecting with Yasmin Irfani and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Yasmin, what principle do you value most?
God-consciousness is the principle which matters most to me. Marianne Williamson states “We think we have many problems, but we really only have one: our separation from God.” I have found this to be true for my personal experiences. Historically, I would not openly share much about my spiritual/religious identity. I had received invalidating comments or was judged for not being “Muslim enough.” So I hid that part of me to avoid any criticism. Of course we know how that works though, there is no way to avoid criticism and when it comes to pleasing others, I feel like I can never win everyone over. Now, I accept that and try to focus on pleasing God and myself. All other relationships come after that. I feel that if I am God-conscious, then I am more able to be loving, forgiving, service-oriented, and all other qualities that I strive towards. This is a life-long journey and each moment is an opportunity to redirect my inner GPS back towards God. I feel less alone and on my own when I am connected to my faith as well.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher. I would force my younger cousins to be my students. As I got older, I had no idea what I wanted to do and was overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I did know that I wanted to help people, as my family had really ingrained the value of service in me. When I went to college at UC Santa Barbara, I was undeclared for a year before I followed my intuition and chose psychology. This is also where I started consistent talk therapy, which was so healing and empowering.I ended up feeling lost again after college, so I did some soul searching and found my way into graduate school for College Counseling. I had the privilege of working with such inspiring young people, who were vulnerable with me and showed me the power of being authentic. It is their courage, in addition to my own experiences growing up with big emotions and not having a place to process them, that led me into this career. Since 2019, I have been in the non-profit space advocating for mental health awareness. It has not been easy. I have had my own ups and downs in my mental health journey, but I am grateful for every part of it because it allows me to connect and empathize with almost anyone. My hope is to be able to create safe and courageous spaces where people can be their perfectly imperfect selves.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to mostly outdoorsy places, such as Salt Creek Beach, Runyon Canyon, and the Lake Shrine temple. New York Chicken & Gyro in the valley would definitely be a go-to for food and Jeni’s Ice-cream from dessert, or Somi Somi! I think that sometimes it’s fun to just get in the car and find a new place to explore, as long as it’s naturey I feel like you can’t go wrong in Southern California.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents, grandparents, and sister, Mariam. I would not be where I am today without their love and support.

Website: https://icnarelief.org/socal

Instagram: yasmin_irfani

Linkedin: ​https://www.linkedin.com/in/yasmin-irfani/

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