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How Helping Others Gave Me an Excuse to Ignore Helping Myself

I can become a healthier and better person when I heed my own advice.

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We have all gone through a difficult time with a family member, or have had a challenging relationship with someone who was pulling us down. It’s easy to point the finger of blame at the other person and recognize the interactions or relationships as unhealthy. But someone once told me that when you point at others, you actually have three fingers that point back at you. 

As a family doctor, my motivation to work is all about helping people get healthy. In this pandemic, my sense of purpose has never been stronger. I notice that my patients are talking with me about more than just their injuries. I have had many deep conversations involving self-reflection and the meaning in their lives. 

The reality is that COVID-19 has absolutely disrupted our lives. Like many of my patients, it has given me an opportunity to evaluate my own feelings and emotions. 

In doing this exercise, I found that I have not been practicing what I have been preaching. Some realizations:

  • I have lauded the value of being sensitive to others while ignoring that same value when it comes to myself.
  • I have asked others around me not to count how many times they fall, to get back up and keep going, but have not been honoring that truth.
  • I have supported others’ dreams, grit, and resilience, while silencing my own dreams because others minimized them.

Even though I have laid the foundation for so many others to be a healthier and better version of themselves, I have neglected to improve myself. But now I see the problem, and want to fix it. 

While I’ve been pushing others to get comfortable being uncomfortable, I’ve managed to stay in my comfort zone and never venture outside of it. I have repeatedly asked others not to edit their voice, while I have allowed mine to be strategically edited by others. While I’ve been a cheerleader for those who can stay firm in their stance, I’ve weakened mine to go with the flow.

Becoming more aware of the double standards I’ve allowed in my life, I’ve noticed a shift in my own paradigm lately. I’m not sure what triggered this shift, but I am pretty sure it has to do with the added stress and anxiety around this pandemic. 

But I’m welcoming this shift. 

I am starting to examine myself, and welcome my intellectual curiosity to deviate from what is deemed “normal.”

I am ready to change the narrative I tell myself, embracing that I am unique, and that I am strong. That I am a fighter. I am flirting with the idea that some people will always have disdain for me, but I won’t let them define me.

It is time that I stop making a litany of excuses as to why I’m not taking any risks. I am newly committed to removing the negative claws from people who are trying to drag me down.

While this pandemic has shaken up my life, I know the pursuit of becoming a better me is a worthy goal. And I know that I will struggle to get it right!

I’m at the beginning of a long and complicated road of self-love and self-care, but I’m relieved that I have at least taken the first step. And the next step. And the one after that. 

Just like I tell my patients to take baby steps, I now make sure that I heed my own advice.

What advice do you give others that you don’t take? Tweet me at @ReyzanShali. I’d love to start a conversation.

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