We generally see patients that are unhappy with some aspect of their physical self (and perhaps more often, their psychological selves). Many patients hope that changing a physical aspect of them will make them happier, more content, more at peace… and many times it does. However, there is a dark side to this (and it doesn’t always have cookies).
The dark side of the ‘difference = happiness’ equation is when patients expect Photoshop perfection when correcting a very physical form. Filters and lighting and the right pose can hide a multitude of sins; no one is perfect, perfectly symmetrical, nor does anyone actually live their Instragram-lovely life (but this is so hard to actually believe with some much visual evidence to the contrary).
tl;dr? Changing a physical aspect of yourself can most definitely have incredible positive results. It can also lead down a path of misaligned self-judgement and an inability to accept improvement over impossible perfection. So what can we do?
This is really the blog today. Valentines Day and some sappy personal story. Got your roses (sustainably sourced I hope), and your chocolate? Let’s go:
- Yesterday: Dr. Duncan makes plans to order lunch for everyone on Valentines Day.
- 7:58am: Brittany, our MA, brings in gift bags with the requisite Valentines candy (matched to everyones favorites), a face mask (self-care is important), and a baby succulent (seriously, the cutest).
- 8:00am: I name my succulent Miles and Anna names hers Franklin. We are starting a succulent army.
- 8:03am: Perla, our RN, drops off chocolates at everyones desk.
- 10:15am: I raid Whole Foods for roses and gifts. I can’t take it anymore I must show everyone I appreciate them. Dr. Duncan approves of a staff-appreciation-adventure-run.
Aside from a bizarre level of self-programmed need to ‘Team Mom’, doing things (Love Language: Acts of Service) makes me happy. Happier than necessarily doing things for myself (like treating myself). Research validates this: ‘prosocial’ behavior such as buying coffee ‘forward’, volunteering at community events, or other social acts of kindness increases your own happiness more than pro-individual ‘treats’ for yourself.
When it comes to treating yourself, remember that the intention is just as important as the treat itself. Decadent dessert? Yes. Do it. But instead of wolfing it down because you’re ‘treating yourself’ and have ‘earned it’, slow down and indulge. Enjoy it. Let it melt in your mouth. Associate the actual experience of the reward with having earned it, and don’t just check it off your preset list of what constitutes self-care. Same thing with retail therapy – make it about the experience. Luxuriate in the window shopping, in trying on those amazing shoes or the jeans that fit just right. What’s your sensory vice? Do you want to touch all the cashmere scarves? Look at all the sparkles in the jewelry section? Sip your small batch roast while people watching? Maybe the perfume counter is your jam. Whatever it is, make it count, don’t just check it off =).