Window Washing


How do you keep such a positive outlook about your patients? 

There are three things that I try to never lose sight of:

#1: We are all imperfect.

It is easy when you are young and stupid to imagine all of the lines that you will never cross that make you so much better than everyone else. All of the things that I told myself I would never do? I did them. Well, a lot of them. Eventually I was forced to recognize that I am a flawed person and as such I must extend the same consideration that I desire to everyone else that I meet. No one is better than anyone else. Some are just better at hiding their secrets.

#2: There is good in everyone.

Many people tell me that I am silly for believing that no one is truly 100% evil. There is good in us all, it is just harder to find in some folks. That does not mean that I am going to want to be around everyone. There are some people that I am just not equipped to find the good in and I have to keep them at arms length in order to not have their issues swallow me whole.

#3: Put yourself in their shoes.

Everyone has reasons for what they do. We call it secondary gain. “What are you getting from playing the sick role?” Attention? Free time? Drugs? “Why are you so ugly to my staff all of the time?” Does it combat your low self esteem? Lack of control in the rest of your life? “Why won’t you take your medications and do what I ask of you?” Financial issues? Fear? Shame? There is always a reason. Once you understand the reason it is much easier to find a way to still love that person and to find a way to help them.

Admitedly, sometimes I let my own feelings cloud my judgement, even though I try to only look through clean windows. I am only human after all…

Thank you, Daddy Bear, for asking. 


69 thoughts on “Window Washing

  1. Excellent post, and the reminders apply to everyone. While not an excuse, there is always so much ‘behind’ the people we meet…understanding that can be such a benefit in our interactions with others.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love this post. I identified so much with it, especially because I too think no one is 100% evil. I try to hold those truths close to me too, but of course I’m not perfect either, so mistakes do happen. I especially love #3 πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said! Someone once told me that anger is the second emotion, the first emotion can be hurt feelings or fear. And sometimes the person feels like they are not being heard. I was taught a technique that is to repeat back what the person is saying such as I hear you saying…., then even if you don’t know why or understand, the person feels heard and they calm down.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You must have very good soap.

    If our eyes and ears are the windows into someone else’s reality then our windows do need a regular washing.

    Teachers, medical personnel and HR-people are amazing for what they are able to do on a daily basis.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. There’s a lot of similarity between your analysis of people and beer. There is no bad beer, just some are better than others. And if you really can’t drink your last batch, don’t throw it out – distil it and turn it in to whisky.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on Niki.V.all.ways.My.way. and commented:
    i spent a visit with a friend as he had to go to the emergency room. i got a first hand experience of life in a western medical emergency room facility that is run for a profit. interesting. i felt like alice in wonderland. i felt, all and all, the staff on all levels were very attentive to my drama queen diva friend and his pain (his first experience with a sciatica issue), the morphine shot i think helped everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I find it much easier to believe and act on these three ideas (and others) when I’m not under constant stress (which was sometime last century) and the lovely human who might be getting some judgement isn’t yelling in my face. Or a lying to my face. Or mansplaining. Or… hm….

    Liked by 3 people

  8. True. I always thought if everyone tried to understand the other person’s motives, there would be a lot less hatred going around. As a doctor, it’s harder at times (or maybe we docs just feel it is! :)). But yes, even trying to wear someone else’s shoes, and we can never really know how another person feels in its entirety, helps a lot. Well written. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lots of wisdom here. I know these things to be true, but for reasons like Laura L wrote about, I think maybe I’ll put them on an index card somewhere in my office, and another one at home as reminders. And another thing, I love how you come up with interesting metaphors to use as your blog titles. I wonder if it’s something you have a knack for, or do you have to work at it?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is so true. Sometimes when I’ve been to our supermarket with a crush of grouchy, unsmiling shoppers, I have to stop and remind myself that I really don’t know what those people are dealing with in their personal lives. Maybe that older woman has a husband at home with Alzheimer’s, or she might have just received a cancer diagnosis herself and is really worried. I try to remember that, but I’m not always very successful at it. Yep, nobody’s perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such an interesting read! I think every now and then we all need to do some window washing, figuring out what makes us view people the way they are. Recognize the various prejudices we place on them (everybody does judge, it’s human nature, but we just need to be conscious of our judgements).
    Sounds like your advice may help with burnout and restore faith in patients even on the darkest days.

    Liked by 1 person

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