Has there ever been a time you judged yourself? Or that one time you resented yourself and repeatedly went over that event, thinking, “Gee, I wish I could’ve changed that one thing.” Has there ever been a time where you’ve said, “I’ll never be able to forgive myself”? Then, you begin to complain incessantly and blame others. “I see too many patients. There’s too much paperwork. Can you believe that the patient said that to me? How dare they? It is easier to blame others and complain with complainers than take the time to find those who are solution-driven.
I almost lost my job and nearly died because of the abovementioned. I was burnt out, 60 lbs. overweight, and addicted to gambling, alcohol, and drugs. Worst of all, I hated myself.
It is an overcast, drizzly Seattle morning. I’m opening the door from the primary care office to the urgent care area. Today, the lights are bright and fuzzy at the same time as I am walking in the corridor. It is as if I am heading into a dream state. You know, like in the movies with that cute piano sound. My director opens his office door, and I sit down. The tone of his voice is eloquent, easy to listen to, and full of compassion. He goes, “We’re worried about you. Why don’t you take some time off?” I say, “I know; I’ve been going through a lot since my best friend died of an overdose.” He says, “Take ten days off, and let’s check in later,” as another one of my directors is on the phone in agreement. I look at him and say, “I wonder what it feels like to sit down with a family and have dinner.” Now, I am flushed red in the face, sweaty, nose dripping. I’m sobbing, wiping tears with the palmar surface of my hands. I’m clinging to soaking tissues in a vain attempt to stop the waterfall of tears. I’m in a state of misery and uncontrollable sorrow. I’m at the peak of a mental breakdown.
My alcohol and drug use was there for the world to view; my patient scores were terrible, and my physician burnout was official. Oh, not to mention that my gambling addiction almost led me to lose my home, my 403(b), and my life’s work. I would go to a dual diagnosis center (rehab) to take care of untreated bipolar disorder, illicit drug use, and alcohol overuse. I would be off work for the next six months. For two years straight, I would be embarrassed, fearful of patient complaints, and judge myself perpetually as I walk through those clinic corridors.
I wish I had come up with Empower ACES and Disregard FACES before I was born to be in a state of emotional freedom. I wish that I went for mind hygiene on my emotions with ACES. But, nope. I didn’t. I was too busy blocking out my mental breakdown and trying to fix my adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). I’m glad you asked what mind hygiene is and those silly mnemonics.
Accept your awareness
Communicate your compassion
Embrace your empathy
Soften and not harden
Control/Cope with/Deal with
Erase (block out)
When you fix, overcome, deal with, and be strong, you’re elated.
When you cannot, you judge yourself; then you’re 100 deflated.
What if I told you you can be easily emotionally free and not feel negated?
Communicate your emotions, no commotion; embrace them; don’t be belated.
It’s not hard if you, motivate you; inspire yourself, no debated.
Don’t let your resentments rent space in your head; you feel inundated.
Accept yourself radically compassionately, and don’t resent yourself and feel desecrated.
Communicate with sympathy and empathy, reap the benefits, and stay elevated.
– Sublime Shine
Have you ever tried to lose weight? Have you lost weight and had a hard time keeping it off?
Weight loss is easy. The tricky part is keeping the weight off. Emotional freedom is where your mind has lost weight. The tough spot is residing in the clouds of emotional freedom. That is why diets do not work. They only help you fix, overcome, control, and find coping strategies. Remember. These all translate to resentment when they don’t work.
I get it; I’ve been to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization reprocessing therapy (EMDR), a mindfulness certification, and so on.
This was not why I was successful. It is because I practice daily mind hygiene. This is where I write. I don’t think; I write.
In as little as seven days, you can enter emotional freedom. You can practice simple mind hygiene techniques with daily writing. For 10 seconds every hour. Just ACE yourself. There’s nothing to fix, overcome, control, or deal with. Accept your awareness, communicate your compassion, embrace your empathy, and soften the process (don’t make it seem complicated; that is a self-limiting belief). Write down your thoughts when you’re sitting down after seeing 12 patients in the first part of the day tomorrow.
This is the first step to being the greatest version of yourself and living your life devoid of resentment. This is the first step to enhancing how you communicate with yourself: communication with empathy. When you do, you can communicate with humans empathically and effortlessly.
Dhruva Gulur is a family physician.