As I am writing this, I am surrounded by tall palm trees, lazily swinging back and forth in a gentle tropical breeze. Above me is a dome of bright stars hovering over waves making their way to the sandy shores of Kauai, one of the most spectacular islands in Hawaii
Not so long ago I had the privilege to attend a meeting of key leaders in pediatric medicine. The meeting was in chilly Chicago.
These two places may be vastly different in terms of its climate, but it raised a question in my mind:
What is the average climate in most doctor’s minds?
Here are some of the realities:
- a leader, when alone in his room, after an important meeting, struggles with the Imposter Syndrome. He wonders if he is really good enough to be the leader of a large and influential organization.
- the handsome, charming doctor whose EQ and IQ both impress his peers, sits alone by himself and long after the party is over he wonders what others would say if they knew his marriage is on the ropes.
- another doctor looks down at his paunch wondering how he can be like his peer who runs almost daily and eats only vegan foods. He thinks to himself “ Why is it that I try so often to live healthier only to “relapse” —once again—when tempted by tasty meals? Life is not fair. I just look at food and gain weight.
And yet, when all these human beings, known to their patients as “Dr.” walk into the exam room they perform flawlessly.
I think all of us have had to face what I call “The Inner Bully” It is so easy to let this bully into our lives when we compete, compare and flagellate ourselves.
The simplicity of Buddhist psychology has always impressed me. On the flight to Hawaii I read about a man who pointed at a boulder, and asked his friend “Is that boulder heavy?” His wise friend answered, “Only if you try to pick it up.”
So often helpers try to make life more difficult than it should be. We pick some things up that need not be picked up.
If the problem then is that we are unhappy with the climate of our minds, why not keep things simple and show some self-compassion. For example, if we ruminate about a failed marriage, an inability to lose weight, or negative self-talk as to our ability to deliver…..why not stop it by asking one simple question: Is this helpful?
Try using this simple question more often. I have done that more and more in my own world and so far it has helped me sleep better at night, reduce ruminations and focus on the process rather than the outcome. As one of my mentors taught: “Health is inner peace and healing is letting go of fear”
I invite you to come back often for more inspirational ideas in the months ahead and who knows….we may even meet via a future webinar or even face to face in Hawaii!