I saw her again.  She was very anxious and trembling.  "It was very hard but I am here.  I am trying to get healthy.  I want to be healthy and beautiful.  I am beautiful but when people see my teeth, I feel they are judging me. "  She told me that she felt judged all the time.  She had tears in her eyes.  "I am working really hard to do the right thing.  I am making sure my kids get a good start.  Not like me."  That desire had pushed her to seek help many times but each at each step she felt judged, mistreated, mislead, and came away more frustrated and more fearful.  "Once, they extracted a tooth while I was telling them it wasn't numb.  They didn't believe me.  How could they do that?"

She was smiling as she left.  She told the assistant, "I have never been treated like that."  What happened? Nothing exotic or magical or clever.  Her concerns were taken seriously, it was unhurried, it was careful, each step was explained, she was heard, she was believed.

Her cute little boy came back to the door after the rest of the family was headed to the car.  He sweetly said, "Thank you for being such a nice doctor to my mom.  But if you ever hurt her...."  Then he made a slashing motion over his throat and a funny little swishy sound.  That was the reminder to stay humble.  She will be fearful next time and the next and the next.  I am not curing her fear.  I am just trying to do "the right thing."

Empathy and compassion are natural ways of being.


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