The photo is my dental hygienist and me, who chose to let my hair go “natural” (no straightening) on possibly the worst kind of day. It’s overcast, with heavy air and misty. I totally rock that Cryptkeeper look. But I digress.
Today was cleaning and exam day, which means I’m generally quite nervous because they could find mouth cancer. It’s nothing to laugh at… and no worries, I’m not laughing. Such is the life of a health anxiety’d hypochondriac.
What you need to know is that one quadrant of my mouth is very special. It needs extra care and in fact, gets it by way of an oral gel that numbs the exposed nerve area before my cleanings begin.
Tiffany and I are old buds by now but I still worry. (See paragraph above about health anxiety.) So, every time I sit down in the chair, I wrestle with whether to gently remind her about it. Also every time, my anxiety wins out and I say, “Don’t forget to numb me,” to which she kindly replies, “Don’t worry, I won’t.”
So, today, I said, “You know, you and I have been working together on my teeth for about four years or so now … and you probably remember this … but don’t forget to numb that area.”
She said, “Don’t worry, I won’t,” just like always.
I sat there for a moment and then said, “I always hesitate to say anything but the one time I don’t will be the time that you forget, because, you know, you’re human.”
Then she said something remarkable and I sat up! I asked her to get my camera from the front pocket of my purse, and she looked perplexed as anyone normal *would* when I added, “I’m going to take our photo.”
“Uh, okay,” she said, as if nobody ever asks her to do this. (LOL, as if! Right?)
“Want to know why?” I asked.
She did want to know why!
I explained that I have a blog and how I am The Self-Help Whisperer, to which she replied, “Oh, that’s interesting,” which is code for “I’m at work and supposed to be cleaning your teeth, so I hope this doesn’t take too long.”
I explained a little more about my blog and how her words not only resonated but encouraged and validated me.
Are you wondering what she said?
Here it is:
“Don’t worry about asking. Really, you’re just taking care of yourself!”
Such a simple statement but it hit me like a ton of bricks! I’m taking care of myself.
I thought of all the ways in which I have done the very same thing this week. In each instance, it was nerve-racking and scary. In one, I regretted doing it almost immediately and wondered if I should apologize and backtrack. But I didn’t. I held my ground because it was the best thing for me to do FOR ME.
Isn’t that what self-help is?
Did you know I’m writing a book on self-help? It’s about what I’ve learned over a lifetime and also, what I’ve learned here, while writing this blog. Some of you have been my teachers, because as I always say, I’m a student on the path with you! But it’s also what I learn day-by-day.
One of the earliest chapters is called, “What is Self-Help?” I wondered if there should even be a chapter as it’s pretty clear: Self-Help is “Helping Self.” But ya know, we’ve made it complicated. We’ve also made it daunting and SO big that self-help books stretch across three aisles at the brick-and-mortar bookstore, never mind the pages and pages (and pages!) of books and videos on Amazon.
So, do you think the answer is easy or complicated?
As for my answer, you’ll have to wait to read my book. Quite the plug for book that’s not even halfway finished yet! Ha!
Today’s lesson is brought to you by Tiffany. She says she’s smiling under the mask. Look at her eyes and you can tell. 🙂