Finding a new doctor is like dating. We get to know who they are, what they believe and how they approach life. We want to make sure we are compatible and can spend a large chunk of our lives together. This doesn’t mean we are crossing professional boundaries, quite the opposite, this approach enables us to look deeper into who they are as a practitioner by learning about their professional accomplishments. While in their office we must believe they are listening to us, that we are safe under their care and they know enough to help. We need to make sure they are the best person for the job. Just like dating, we want to pair with this person for a long time, perhaps even the rest of our life, so it is important to make sure this doctor is the right choice.
How do I know if I have the right doctor for me? You must get to know yourself and discover what is important to you. You must set and enforce personal boundaries and become an unstoppable force.
I think I can take some time to get to know myself, but I’m not good with personal boundaries and I don’t think I could ever be an unstoppable force. How can I do this? Where do I even start? You start right now and every moment thereafter. Force of will is a tempered tool folded and pounded to perfection. Every day we have opportunities to become the better version of ourselves, seize those moments and move forward.
There was a time in my life when I was shy, I had a hard time talking or standing up to others. If I had to walk my NET cancer journey when I was shy, this would have been impossible. But don’t fret, just because you are shy now, doesn’t mean you will always be.
Shyness and Social Anxiety
Shyness, it sucks. That’s how I would describe it in three words. People are often surprised when I tell them I used to be very shy. Sometimes they ask how I overcame it. Well here is the first step of my fancy story.
In my mid-twenties, just after my mother had passed I was at a local dinner sitting with a couple friends waiting for our food. A few booths over was a group of young ladies, one in particular caught my eye, I was entranced by her beauty and I wanted to meet her. Unfortunately, I was frozen in fear and glued to my seat. “What is going on?” I thought to myself. I couldn’t muster a reason why I felt this, why I was so afraid? If she was so intimidating why would I be attracted to her?
After several moments of being teased by my friends for not approaching her, I rose from my seat and walked to her table. My hands were shaking, and my heart was pounding in my chest. When I opened my mouth to speak, all my charm fled, and I found myself completely unable to articulate my words. I stood there at the end of the table for several moments, I could feel their judgement piercing my soul. In a burst of what little confidence I had, I tried to introduce myself to her, a moment passed, and they were all quiet so I walked back to my seat.
I could hear them talking about me, describing how my hands were shaking, and how weird I seemed. As I sat there eating my meal, I reflected over the moment, and I came to the conclusion that I must have appeared completely insane.
At first, I saw this as a failure, but then I realized it was a success. I was unable to bridge my introduction into a conversation, but I was able to overcome the fear of talking to her. I set out to do something, and I did it. It was from this I was able to build my confidence. I spent some time thinking about how I could eliminate my social anxiety, and over several years of pushing myself I was able to become the social butterfly I am today.
Overcoming anything requires force of will, but we are simply unable to eliminate our hardships in one fell swoop. We must dedicate ourselves to a purpose and stick to it. My social anxiety didn’t disappear in this moment. I had to work on it daily. One of the first methods I used to fight my shyness was to smile and say hello to every person I saw. When they didn’t smile back or say hello, I copped by saying to myself they were the ones missing out.
If you are a person like myself who loves people and wants to have as many great friendships as you can, then challenge yourself, talk to others. Eventually you will realize there is nothing to fear. Most likely the person you want to talk to was wants to speak to you as well.
How does this help me with talking to my doctor and learning if they are right for me? In the beginning it may be difficult to directly talk to your doctor, but each time you stand your ground the better your footing becomes. Talking to a stranger can be daunting and by all accounts your doctor is a stranger. To complicate matters more we tend to deify their standing leading to a vast power differential. If you start making small changes in your life, these baby steps will improve your force of will and the effectiveness of your medical care. Be strong, know you’re amazing and make the most of your moments.