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Immerse Week 21 – Mistake Doctor

During this week you’ll be grateful for those who help you become a better person by informing you about your imperfections, and you will create synchrony among your thoughts, words, and actions.

Those who point out your mistakes are your well-wishers.

Dear friend,

As a physician I completely believe in prevention. Breast cancer treated at stage 1 has almost no negative effect on survival, while 80 percent of the patients diagnosed at stage 4 do not make it past five years. Diagnosing and curing cancer early in its course prevents children from losing their mom or dad, protects a loving son or daughter, prevents toxic side effects of treatment, and does so much more. Most patients are grateful when a physician detects their cancer early. I too will be, if that is my experience.

Not so for my mistakes. I feel angry when I am told I am wrong—about a thought, word, or action. I fiercely defend my version of the truth. When someone rejects my truth, I feel that person is rejecting my entire being. I seldom recall being truly grateful to anyone who helped me by showing me how I was incorrect.

There are many reasons. Perhaps I can’t take rejection, have an inflated or insecure sense of self, am uncomfortable accepting I could be wrong, get insulted easily, feel like I am being intentionally demoralized when shown a different viewpoint, etc. Barring a few exceptions, none of this is helpful.

I should consider my mistakes as early cancer. Someone helping correct my errors—particularly a loved one, friend, or colleague who cares about me—is like a doctor detecting an early cancer. If I can be truly grateful to the doctor who saved my life by diagnosing my cancer early, I should be equally grateful to the person who helped remove the potential cancers lodged in my mind. Humility will help me develop such a mature attitude.

Cultivating humility can teach me the path to learning from feedback. Humility doesn’t mean I lower myself compared to others. True humility helps me nurture a healthy self-worth, reminds me we are all equally worthy, helps me avoid comparing myself to or judging others, and guides me to be open and willing to learn. I wish myself the gift of humility so instead of snapping, I can bend in the storm, and thus save much grief for many.

May you be surrounded by caring people who can critique you; may you be humble and graceful in receiving critique.

Take care.

@AmitSoodMD (on Twitter)

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