I went on the radio on Friday evening and on Monday patients were lined up outside the door long before we opened. Word got out…we had free medications and supplies. Patient after patient and before we realized it, we saw 62 patients in one day from 10:30am to 5pm. The adrenaline that comes with taking care of people fueled me.
He walked in. Broken. I could tell by his posture and his eyes. He was broken. He was brought in by someone who I had taken care time some time ago. They told him, “you need to go see my doctor. She will help you.” As he started talking, it became apparent that Irma had not only caused a physical upheaval but an emotional torrent as well. His partner for decades left. As the storm moved on from our island, so did his partner from his life leaving behind rubble. His house ravished by the storm and he was now homeless. And even in his broken state, he still found the strength to give back to those who like himself were broken by the storm. As I listened to his story, I jumped into action. I started putting together a bag of goodies, shirts, clothes, toiletries. I brought the bag into him. I could tell that his pride was tender but I let him know that it was indeed ok. There is nothing wrong with accepting help when you are down. I tended to the medical reason he was there…and then I broke. Since Irma, my tears have taken on their own navigation system and as much as I try to regulate them, they betray me every time. We all cried. I have learned to not stop the tears because I cannot, plus we all needed a good cry that day. I hugged him and watched as he walked out with his shoulders lifted just a little higher. Even though he makes his place of abode the park bench, he left knowing that at least in our office, his dignity remains intact.
She came in with shoulders hunched over. He was cheating on her. Again. 25 years. Same behavior.
Me: What are you going to do about it?
She shrugged her shoulders: Dunno
Me: Well are you happy with this situation?
Me: Then change it
And therein lies the dilemma. How do you take a situation where you are undervalued and abused and turn it around? How do you change that trajectory? Change has to start with some of these steps:
- Take Inventory: We need to locate ourselves in order to change the trajectory. If you don’t see a problem, then there is no solving it. Locate and admit that there is a problem. As best as you can, outline the problem. Own your part of it. Determine if the situation is serving you. If it’s not. Abort.
- Recognize your own value: It is sometimes hard for us to see just how awesome we are. I often wonder what lens we look through when we see ourselves. I find it difficult to focus and see things through scratched or deformed lens. Taking time to reflect on how we came to the conclusions we did about ourselves is a worthwhile activity. We do not have to accept everything that is offered to us. Recognizing and learning our value helps us reject offers that are cheap. Get a pen and paper and start writing, don’t censor your thoughts just focus on the awesome. Write. Write a new reality. Change your mind, change your life…truly.
- Change your self talk: What are you saying to yourself? Are you defeating yourself before giving yourself a fair chance? Would you be yourself’s best friend based on how you talk to yourself? As a man or woman thinks so is he or she….so yes your self talk is absolutely important. You become what you behold, so your talk to yourself has creative power. We manifest that we digest so please change your soliloquy.
- Change your circle: If we are in partnership or relationship with people who are not able to recognize our value, it is best to get away. Why? Try going on I94W while the person you are yolked with is going I94E. You will in fact get no place. The tension of dissonance will pull you away from your purpose. It stagnates. People project their own self worth on you and if within your circle there are those who don’t value themselves, guess what? They likely don’t value you either. Change circles. Associate with people who lift you up, build you up and honor the awesome in you. Be a person who lifts and builds others.
- Be brave: Walking away from the familiar takes courage but the freedom felt once the chains have loosened is invigorating. Sometimes we just have to jump and trust the parachute to open. We have to trust that we will land in a better place. No discoveries are made by the coward of heart.
The relationships that must change are our relationship with ourselves, life and God. If we truly know who we are in Christ, we would know that He thinks highly of us, that to accept anything other than His best for us is pride. Relationships with the world around us, our job, friends, partners, these relationships should also reflect God’s best for us. We settle too often and for too little. Take the step to elevate your relationship with God, yourself and thus your auxiliary relationships.
Months later, I heard she moved away. She had enough. The work we did finally paid off. She was able to see her value and thus rejected a value-negating relationship from a love stealer. Whether a person or a job, make a decision to go where you are appreciated, not tolerated or denigrated.