It’s been a long few months, I’m sure you probably feel the same way. For some reason, I find that I always feel this way around this time of year. I’m not sure what your “go-to” solution is, I tried:
- Stand up comedy
- Binge-watching Rick and Morty
- Finally fitting smart lights at the house
- Slow cooking a beef soup
Aaaaand that was my Friday. Seeing as that failed, I decided to do something creative – without a brief, without a deadline and payment. I finally built my personal website! (Check it out if you have time).
What I’ve learnt
A few things stuck out for me as important learnings over the last few months, this great medium article kinda sums it up for me:
When Staying Composed Harms Your Health
I’ve always been of the impression that it was a waste of energy to cry over spilt milk – if the milk is on the floor I’d rather spend my energy trying to find a mop. This kind of solutionist thinking is great – but can also lead to all sorts of chaos.I frequently censor myself, I frequently pause and compose myself… thinking carefully about the consequences of my actions and whether a specific line of action is worth taking. These are honestly good virtues worth emulating and even interpreted as “steadfastness and reliability.” BUT (and humour me here) – what if sometimes anger/emotion is a good thing…?
Being composed becomes second nature to the extent that no other state of being is internally acceptable – Rainesford Stauffer
If you’re like me – (“passive”, “calm” and “empathetic”) then perhaps the emotion you feel at the time that you feel it is the extra “hulk juice” that you need to make your point and be taken seriously. Perhaps whispering that you are not ok with something means that nobody hears you?
The “Good” Doctor
As it turns out some of the traits that set one up to be a decent Doctor, also set one up to be terrible at saying no. As a Doctor I’m trained to be altruistic, put others first, long-suffering and (of course) composed. Being able to see the big picture rather than tiny symptoms individually means that you frequently choose to address the big problem rather than the small one that you see at the time. There are two facets to composure (at least in my mind):
- The internal – True honesty with myself, my opinions and my emotions
- The external – What others think of me and how my choosing not to be composed would affect them
Being a new dad, I think a lot more about things I see in myself. Would I want my little one to emulate what I’m doing? I think that’s part of the reason I’m writing this – a letter to myself, a way of collating my thoughts so that one day when she asks me I have an answer that actually makes sense.No… I would not want her to carry the burden of composure, I want her to live light and free and be so secure that she can drop the facade of composure and express how she feels.So as a dad – I have to do it first, to practice and then preach. I’m not sure where this journey will end up, but what I do know is –
I need to give myself the latitude to (honestly) express myself
More importantly, I need to release any guilt I feel for not being composed and also need to allow myself the latitude to understand that if I express my honest opinion and you are not ok with it – It’s not my job to fix you.A little deep for a Sunday afternoon… Here’s a penguin being cute: