In a world that can feel increasingly stressful and scary, those anxieties can manifest in the dental practice as well. The key is to help each other and be kind to one another.
I wrote my eulogy today. You probably think that is morbid. It has nothing to do with COVID-19 or some premonition that my life will be cut short. It just seemed like something I should do to make life easier after I die for my loved ones. Think about it. Who is the best expert on you? Even your loved ones may not know everything that you want said at your funeral. You might call me a control freak, but why not? I want people to know who I am and what was important to me. So why am I sharing this in a dental article?
I am not someone who particularly cares what other people think of me, but many of us are. This feeds insecurities and drama in dental practices at times. When we were young, our friends were so important in all decisions we made, but as we got older, these feelings changed. We started careers and started figuring out what our life goals were and how to get there. We may have chosen to start a family or decide that was not what we wanted, and we grew both personally and professionally. We made a lot of mistakes along the way but hopefully learned from them and grew more mature in the process.
The act of writing my eulogy made me think about who I am and what I stand for. Two things stood out.
We live in a challenging time where we have heinous things happening in this country. It is one thing after another that is angering people and causing a sense of learned helplessness. Just this month, we had the horrifying July 4th tragedy in Highland Park, Illinois. It is devastating! I watched a news interview with a woman who took cover under a bench during the shooting. A man saw her and asked her to protect his 2-year-old. He needed to go back and find his wife who had been injured. The woman put the child between the wall and her body for protection while the shooter was still shooting. The man found his wife, who had been injured, came back, and gave his phone number to the woman. He asked this total stranger to take his child home and keep her safe while he went to help his injured wife.
I cannot even imagine being in a situation like that, but this woman helped that man protect his daughter. It must have a horrifying thing to give your child to a stranger for safe keeping, but he needed to help his wife. Despite the horrific situation, it was a reminder that there are incredible people in this world who will be there for you when you need them. Sometimes you just need to ask for help even from a total stranger. Even in all this turmoil, there are still good people.
This all ties into the life you are living and the people you work with. Your dental practice is a family. Some may say a dysfunctional family but let us face it, there really are no functional families. These co-workers spend more time with you awake than your own family does. We need to remember that the key is to be nice to each other and to help each other. You are all working in an environment that is stressful for a multitude of reasons, but being kind and helping each other goes a long way.
This makes me stop and ask the question: What are you doing to help someone else? You have chosen a profession where that is a given, but I challenge you to take it a step further. Ask yourself, are you helping others?
Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share with me your answers.