Like most people I have a series of doctors that work to make me healthy both in mind and body. They are what I would consider quite average, in that while I consider them smart, I don’t find them intelligent. While they tend to show limited amounts of caring, there isn’t this belief that they will ever remember me when I leave their office. Don’t get me wrong, they tend to be kind and even sometimes compassionate, I wouldn’t go to them if I thought that I was just a number to them; but they are just another face in my day.
Except for one. I go to one doctor who intimidates the hell out of me. She is absolutely beautiful, tall, strong, and so smart that it is scary. She remembers details about me that I haven’t told her in months, and she has this amazing capability of making me believe that I am alright.
I am struggling lately with the idea that certain coworkers don’t like me. Not normally something one should worry about, and if it were anyone else except for me I would tell them to simply let it go. I would say words like, maybe they don’t dislike you or there is always going to be people who don’t like us. But then I go to see this fascinating and incredible woman (who just happens to be my doctor) and I realize that who and what I am is okay.
This doctor has seen me at my absolute worse. She has taken me by the hand more times than I can count and lead me to where I need to be. And the greatest part of this woman is it isn’t just me; she honestly remembers and understands her patients. She enjoys her time with them, and she enjoys them. She can make you feel like you are the most important and astonishing person in the world to her, go next door and make the next patient feel the same way. She is truly one of life’s greatest gifts.
Last night as I sat in front of her at the doctor’s office, she asked me a simple question. What are you doing for yourself? It was actually a radical question because it such a complicated question. For instance, I love to read and do so every night. Therefore, I am doing something for myself often to the detriment of my husband and children. Then there is the guilt. The guilt that says that I do enough for myself, I am quite selfish, there is no need to do more. Then there is the fear that if I do something for myself, I will just continue until I alienate everyone around me. No matter how we are raised, how we are taught, the ability to allow ourselves freedoms bring guilt. And you don’t have to have children to feel it.
But this doctor then went on to talk about her taking time for herself. She admitted that it wasn’t always easy, especially since her husband didn’t want to take that time with her, but that she was the first person to jump on the bandwagon with her friends to go out and enjoy herself. She was the first person out the door, despite the fact she was leaving her daughter with a baby sitter, and her husband was almost never there completely.
It put things in perspective. There is something about intimidating gifts of humanity that allow us to find forgiveness within our own selves. If those we admire have foibles than it is okay that we do as well. If those we look up to have times of selfishness, then doesn’t mean I can as well. I probably won’t change a thing after my conversation with this doctor, the guilt is still too high. I still think that I spend too much time on myself as it is, and don’t need anymore. But maybe tomorrow, I won’t feel as guilty about the extra hour that I read. Maybe not, but here’s hoping.