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Slapdown Values That No Longer Serve

Posted on 24 February 2011

"Bitch slap" sounds violent, not a word a mom should use. So, of course, it's just my type of word. Particularly for the musty, patriarchal beliefs that I stuffed into my backpack way back in my youth. I'm wondering how many of them I'm still dragging through the mud. I'm trying to shed, right? Get rid of the toxins. What could be more toxic than old values that no longer work for me? Here's the short list. With some deets today on #1. More to follow.
  1. Old belief: Work harder. Struggle is a necessary part of life. Right? Wrong! Where does this get me? Burned out. Tank empty. Check out Mama Gena's recent missive on this subject, which she brilliantly titled, Discipline of Pleasure. Or maybe I titled it that way in my brain. I find her idea a welcome respite from the deeply ingrained idea that I have that if I'm overwhelmed or don't have enough room for the women who want to see me as a patient or my kids want me at their school more, I need to WORK HARDER. Here's my alternative: choose pleasure. When I'm looking at two options, say add hours in my schedule to keep up with demand or meet a girlfriend for tea - I want to develop a discipline around the pleasure option, girlfriend! (Thank you, Rebecca Elia, for inspiring this idea in particular). Create more art in my work life so that it doesn't feel so demanding and square-peg-round-hole.
  2. Do it ALL myself. Don't ask for help.
  3. Do the work I'm good at (I'm particularly good at doctoring, surgery, research). Problem is - these things don't enliven me. They don't amp up my vitality. Well, doctoring does sometimes. But be an academic clinician? Or slave at Kaiser seeing 30 patients per day? No, thanks.
  4. See patients in person. That's how we've always done it in medicine! Provide counsel via phone? Internet, webinars, ebooks? Crazy pants!
  5. Stay in a collaboration that is troubled until you know for sure.
  6. Be more selfless as a mother. Fountain unconditional love at every opportunity. I saved the best for last.
Join me as I work on these beliefs and get them the hell out of my life. Teach me how you do it. Here's the thing: I have a weird imperative to learn addictively about the human body, synthesize it with ancient systems of knowledge, and then share it with the world. It's my gift. The old patriarchal values are just getting in the way. Most of them I sucked up unconsciously in pursuit of my education. But, damn girl, it's been 22 years since Harvard Medical School Give it up! It's like fake fat - if it's not making you feel good or adding to your greatness, let it go. Curious about your list. Please share in comments section. Even more curious how you plan to cleanse them out of your person and what you'll replace them with. And credit goes to Rebecca Elia, MD for coaching me along on this transformation. Wait, isn't "bitch slap" rather patriarchal? Love it.

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