I am a firm believer in the thought that things happen for our learning and growth. That being said, I am now sitting here trying to figure out what I need to learn by having my completed blog post disappear! I was trying to edit a picture and ended up deleting the entire thing! It took me over an hour to write and I thought it was really good! However, it must not have been what you needed right now. Perhaps it's not what I need right now.
OK. The theme of the last blog was love...since it's February and all! I know, super unoriginal! But I came at it from a different angle. We usually associate this month with romantic love; however, I wanted to approach the theme of love coupled with how we tend to judge one another. That seems contradictory, doesn't it? It is! And that is what I want to talk about!
Recently, I listened to two podcasts from high performance coaches, Brendon Burchard and Hal Elrod. Both of them pretty much summed up what I had experienced during my week. Brendon talked about finding your purpose, which is really all about love and having a passion, and Hal talked about unconditional love. Both of those subjects manifested themselves in my life in the past week.
I had an opportunity to meet a woman whom I'll call Sue. She came to the clinic where I work as a medical assistant. As soon as I called her name in the waiting room, I could tell she did not want to be there. She seemed anxious and looked like she wanted to flee. I brought her back to an exam room and immediately acknowledged her discomfort. She was tearful and I did my best to help ease some of the anxiety by lowering my stool so that I was slightly lower than her, making eye contact, and smiling. I told her that I could tell she was uncomfortable and assured her that she could leave whenever she wanted or we could open the door a little bit so that she wouldn't feel trapped. The next step in the visit is opening up the patient chart on the computer and begin asking all the routine questions, but I felt like that was not what I should do. So I asked her the question that I begin most of the appointments with: "What is the one thing we can do for you today so that you leave feeling like your visit was amazing?" After looking at me like I was crazy, she said, "I just want to feel good!" Oh, boy! That could mean so many different things! Through questioning and listening, I discovered that she had chronic pain and that this was her last attempt to ask for help. She said if she didn't get help here, she was never going to ask anyone again and would suffer in silence for the rest of her life. Sue's perception of every visit she had with a doctor's office or with a specialist ended the same...if she lost weight and stopped smoking, she would feel better. She felt like everyone was judging her and that she was wasting their time. I stepped in at that point and said she must feel really frustrated that no one was taking her seriously and hurting her feelings. She nodded her head. Then I asked her if she believed the statements of the doctors was true, and she admitted that she did agree with them, but that she just wanted to be heard. I finished my portion of the appointment and briefed my provider. At the end of the visit, I heard laughter coming from the room and the patient was willing to come back in a week, which she did, and reported decreased pain and anxiety. As she left this week, she told us that she finally feels heard!
I do not tell you this story to toot my own horn. I tell it to relate it to the things I learned from listening to the podcasts this week. I'm going to try to lump them both together because what each of them said was relevant to the other.
1. Loving yourself starts with positive affirmations and mindset.Talk to yourself like you would talk to a good friend or close family member. I would hope you wouldn't verbally beat the crap out of your friend, tell them they are such a loser and call them garbage! Don't do that to yourself, either.Give yourself some grace.
2. Having unconditional love for others also requires a mindset change.The mindset should be one of empathy and non-judgement. We tend to judge or condemn others based on where we think they should be compared to where they are. We judge based on our expectations of them. Let me be clear, here. We do need to make judgments and assessments in order to keep ourselves and our families or our work teams safe and healthy. If someone is not a good fit for the team, or they don't have the skills or abilities to carry out the job, you will make an assessment and determine that they may not be right for that situation. You obviously would not choose someone who has no interest in children or the skills to take care of them to be your babysitter. You know what I'm talking about here. It's when we attach labels like "bad" or their actions as "wrong" that we carry the burden of judgement. Here is a thought that was presented: If you had lived this person's life, there is a very good chance you would have made the same choices. Instead of condemning, breathe life into people!
3. Loving your life unconditionally is another factor in helping us love others and find our purpose. This means that we love the good along with the bad. We love our accomplishments, we love how hard we work in the gym, we love the value we bring to the workplace or to our relationships, and it also means that we love the adversity. Every experience in life is an asset if you choose to see it that way. Honor the struggle and assume you are being prepared.
Using these tips that I learned from the podcasts helped me to be prepared for the meeting with Sue. Being able to see things from her perspective helped her to feel heard and loved. And that's what it's all about.