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.