Tracking a lead on a great restaurant is as vital to my survival as locating the nearest herd of bison must have been to a caveman. I’m lucky, because San Francisco has mastered the art of providing delicious daily grub – even take out. After 12 years of living in the Bay Area, I’ve come to expect courteous wait staff and organic, fresh food. What I didn’t expect is that how I ordered my food also mattered. Who knew that it could not only fill my stomach, but also nourish my soul?
Janet, a 44-year-old executive at a consulting firm, came to me complaining of headaches, insomnia, and a constant nagging in her stomach. She said her gut felt like it was tied in knots. At work Janet was a high performer and was rewarded with a promotion for always saying yes. She found herself awake at 3 a.m. worrying about how she would accomplish all she had committed herself to. Her physician had told her that although she was under an enormous amount of stress, there was “nothing medically wrong with her.” He prescribed her pain, sleep and antacid medications for her symptoms.
Over the last decade working in hospitals, I was surprised by the number of times learning the skills to communicate helped alleviate my patients’ physical symptoms and even helped them get rid of a dependence on certain medications.
Research shows that communicating effectively helps us better cope with stress, nurtures our relationships, and enhances our health and self esteem. Those who have solid relationships where they can share their emotions and feel supported tend to live longer. Those who feel misunderstood report a higher rate of depression, which weakens the immune system and makes them more vulnerable to disease.
…you know, when you make plans with someone and they’re a no-show.
Are you the one who takes commitment seriously and often find yourself disappointed and hurt when others cancel at the last minute?
Do you make commitments with others and reserve the right to CHANGE YOUR MIND depending on how you feel in the moment?
Depending on who you’re dealing with, chances are, at some point, you have been either the FLAKE or the FLAKEE! Regardless, flaking causes HUGE STRESS in relationships and over time takes a toll on your health.
“All the buried seeds crack open in the dark, the instant they surrender to a process they can’t see.” Mark Nepo
As far as I’m concerned, surrender is a swear word. I’ve spent a large part of my life in resistance and have only recently come to realize it’s because I’m addicted to the-need-to-know. I want to control the outcome. I want to do it right. I want to get an A. I want you to think I’ve got it all together. And I definitely don’t want to get messy.
In my life this has shown up most obviously in romantic love.
March and April show us the first signs of spring. The daffodils begin to peek out from the soil. Buds magically appear on the trees. And the world begins to notice new signs of life. Perhaps now is a good time to take a cue from nature and get curious about new ways you want to emerge in the world.
One way I’m emerging is that I’m transitioning from being a doctor and leadership consultant into blogging and becoming an author. Learning to structure and create meaningful work in the form of written word is a new medium for me.
In the previous blog, I began discussing about the importance of knowing ourselves first and asking for what we need before we can build a meaningful, lasting relationship with others. I am now writing in order to build upon that theme and how well-intentioned people can love one another and also miss the boat on how to make their partners feel loved and valued in a relationship.
Can you describe with ease the ways you feel valued and heard? Dr. Gary Chapman discusses maintaining healthy relationships in his wonderful book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.
With Valentine’s Day upon us, I’m reminded that although it only takes the click of a mouse to ‘friend’ another via social media, friending yourself is a much more difficult task. It means getting clear about what you want and having the courage to express those wants to others. This is not something we have typically been taught growing up. In our culture, focusing on what YOU want can actually be thought of as selfish. Let’s pause and re-think this because getting clear about what you want is actually the foundation of how you create solid relationships,
The new year is a great time to reflect on the lessons you’ve learned. I’m again reminded of the importance of setting clear intentions. I‘ve spent many a year focusing on other people’s needs and desires, without having a clue as to what I wanted. This resulted in an endless, exhaustive dance to make others happy, while I was left feeling lonely and resentful. As a recovering people-pleaser, the most important lesson I’ve learned is that I need to get clear about what I want and then, have the courage to articulate those desires to others.
I begin each year with a simple exercise to do just that.
On Honor and Respect…One thing is for sure, as much as I say I’d like a simpler life, there’s a part of me that loves royal treatment. More importantly, the feeling of being respected and honored by another is an unmistakable experience of the heart. As my plane was landing in Saudi Arabia, I remembered the most important lesson I learned during my previous visit was about honor and respect.
In 2008, sitting on rugs in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert, I had a life-changing epiphany. I had a rare opportunity to chat with Prince Abdul Aziz about our cultural differences.