On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
Something I believe. Boring basics
The way I view health. When you visit a grocery store, the healthiest items are those that are perishable such as produce, meats, and dairy products. These must be treated properly, sold quickly, and then used in a timely fashion by the consumer, so they don’t spoil. Conversely, non-perishable items like cereals, soda, canned goods, and more can sit there forever and require little attention to be maintained. I think this is similar to how our health works.
Perishable habits include too much TV, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, over-consumption of alcohol, and more. Sadly, these are easy to continue because they require little to no effort. Conversely, every positive thing you can do for good health is perishable. This includes what you eat, exercise, stress management, relationships, etc. These areas are challenging to maintain and if they are ignored even for a small period, things can quickly go bad. Examples include weight gain, becoming sedentary, development of diseases, increased stress, poor relationships, and others. Therefore, it is crucial to have processes and habits in place that allow us to repeat the positive behaviors that will lead to better outcomes. Try viewing your health habits like a grocery store and fill it with more good stuff than bad.
Something important. I was speaking to someone this week about the importance of forgiveness. My belief is that the act of forgiving someone is a gift we can give to ourselves. It helps us unburden ourselves of negativity, resentment, hatred, and the like. It allows us to drive forward looking ahead rather than staring into our rear-view mirror.
That said, forgiving others does not mean we must compromise our boundaries. We teach others how we desire to be treated by what we do and do not allow. Therefore, just because we don’t walk around hating others does not mean we must accept poor behavior from anyone in our lives. When I feel people have wronged me, I tend to let it go quickly and move on. However, I do not allow these people (or anyone else) to bring that behavior around me again. Forgive people, but don’t forget to pay attention to your personal boundaries of what you will/will not tolerate. This will create a far happier and less stressful existence for you.
Something I want you to remember. I have failed a lot in my life including marriages, businesses, relationships, sports, races, and plenty of other things. When this has happened, it has tended to affect me mentally. I am extremely hard on myself and feel shame and embarrassment when I don’t succeed. In many cases, it has caused me to feel like less of a person.
What I slowly came to realize about failure is the importance of separating the act of failing in an endeavor from who I am. Now if I fail, I can feel badly about it without believing I am a terrible person. For example, if I fail in a race, I now view it as a learning experience. I consider what I can do differently going forward rather than hating myself and forgetting the good I bring as a father, husband, or doctor. I keep the result separate from who I am as a person. If you are the type who gets down on yourself after a failure or misstep, I want you to try this. Gain experience from your losses and try a new path forward without allowing it to shatter the positive vision you have of yourself. The act of failing does not make anyone a failure.
A great reminder. My oldest son is almost 17 years old. Last weekend he slept over at a friend’s house and we had an early commitment to attend the following morning. I reminded him of it but did not harp on him about making sure he was there. What I was curious to find out was whether he would show up on time on his own accord the next morning or not. I am happy to say that he did.
This reminded me that a huge aspect of trust is whether you come through when called upon. If you are being relied upon to display a certain action and you do, you are actively developing trust. More so than words, promises or anything else, the act of stepping up when necessary, displays our value to others. I recommend taking this seriously in our own behavior as well as that of those around us.
Some quotes I love.
“If things go wrong, don’t go with them.” – Roger Babson
“High standards protect you from low quality experiences.”
“We struggle with the complexities and avoid the simplicities.” – Norman Vincent Peale
“The only cure for grief is action.” – George Henry Lewes