Bekah Finch | September 18, 2020
While at a recent doctor’s appointment, I was commenting about how in a past profession “I was just a…”, but before I could finish, my doctor stopped me mid-sentence. “You’re never ‘just’. Never diminish yourself. You were an important part of the team,” he interrupted. I was initially caught off guard, but later I thought more about it. How often do we diminish our roles or place limitations upon ourselves? Not only in our professions, but in our personal lives, our abilities, our character. As the saying goes, “we are our own worst critic.”
As I left my first appointment and headed to a second doctor’s office, I continued thinking about this. I realized the number of times I preface a statement by lowering expectations for the audience, or how I demean my own abilities or accomplishments because I’m nervous of others’ opinions on the outcomes. But with an unknown amount of wait time ahead of me, I decided to end the pity party and change my train of thought. Instead of thinking about all of the things I can’t do, the things I struggle with, my limitations, I changed my thinking to the things I can do, the things I excel at, my natural abilities, the things I never diminish about myself. And I thought about others as well. Hoping that they are regularly able to acknowledge these things about themselves, I considered the incredible talents and warming personalities of my friends, family, and co-workers. Then I looked around the office and recognized how important each person I had interacted with that day was. Without any one of them, I would not have received the care I needed.
Now normally, spending a day in various doctor’s offices is not what I’d consider an enjoyable experience, but I was having a pretty decent time thinking with so much positivity. As I walked up to the next registrar’s desk, I wondered, “why is it that I don’t think like this all the time?” That’s when something caught my eye; sitting on her counter was a print out of Mother Teresa’s poem, “Anyway”.
As I began reading it, I realized why I commonly let so many negative and demeaning thoughts into my mind. Too often we work so hard in life, act a certain way, or do a specific thing, yet we still end up drawing the short straw. Things don’t turn out the way we hoped for. People share opinions we don’t want to hear. Plans don’t always go our way. But as I finished the poem, I realized something simple- it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that we don’t always get the credit we think we deserve. It doesn’t matter that not everyone is going to like us. It doesn’t matter that none of us are likely going to be remembered like Mother Teresa. No, you are not the center of the universe. No, you are not more important than anyone else.
“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated with purpose.” – Bob Goff
But, that doesn’t mean you are not important. Because no matter how much you put yourself down or get put down by others, you still matter. You mean something to someone. You have an indispensable role in this life. Just because you are not “everything” doesn’t mean you aren’t something. Like each member of the medical staff that took care of me, each of us is necessary. No one else can do and be everything you can and are.
So, join me in taking the advice from my doctor: Never diminish yourself. Don’t worry so much about what other people think, and don’t compare yourself to others. Remember the words of Bob Goff, “We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated with purpose.” Stay focused on your purpose and understand that, likewise, others have purpose as well. Ensure that you spend your time uplifting others and encourage their abilities because even if you don’t understand their role, I promise you, it’s important.
(adapted from The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent Keith):
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Bekah Finch, Detail Specialist, ULEAD