One of my goals this year was trying to be more open and share more of my life on this space, so here we go!
In the blink of an eye, it’s fall, the weather is cooling down, sweaters are coming out, and we are getting into the full swing of the academic year. I find that the summer just feels more relaxing, and as grateful as I am that it’s not 100 degrees and humid out, there’s something about fall that makes life feel a little more fast-paced. Maybe because I’m traveling a TON these few months and multiple departmental-wide presentations are coming up, or maybe because I just want to finish up my research project…for whatever reason I find myself feeling more jittery lately and being pretty harsh on myself. I get annoyed at myself for not knowing the answers to dermatopathology slides, for not studying more, for not blogging more, for not doing more research, for just … not being enough. It seems like everyone around me is doing more and making so much use of the same 24 hours in a day that I have. When these thoughts start up in my head, I think back to something someone told me in college when I was really stressed out doing some pre-med thing (probably applying to medical school). The basic gist of it was if you wouldn’t say such harsh and judgmental things to your friends, why would you say it to yourself?! Physicians especially can be so hard on themselves, probably because the field attracts type A people but also because the cost of a mistake is so high. We berate ourselves over and over again for not knowing more, doing more, reading more, seeing more patients, producing more research, making more of a difference. But think of it this way: We tend to be so supportive of our friends and when they are feeling sad, you don’t kick them when they’re down! We build them back up, we give them confidence, and we help them realize their potential. We brainstorm ways to make them feel better, whether that’s by taking their mind off things or by helping them accomplish their goals. We need to start doing that for ourselves. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and using negative emotions and words to attack ourselves, we need to be supportive and focus on the positive. Treat yourself the way you’d treat a dear friend because hey, you need some love too.
The next time you’re feeling stressed or frustrated, if you start to think or say something negative towards yourself, just stop and take a moment. No good is going to come out of letting loose verbal diarrhea on yourself. Channel that time and energy into actions that can actually result in positive change.