Last week I heard something so powerful on NPR that I had to pull over and write the words down.
From Journalist Maria Hinojosa:
One tool we have is our Humanity.
If you give Humanity, you will get it back.
Wow. This deeply resonated.
When I describe myself, one word that I frequently use is Authentic.
I strive to be Authentically Me in all situations, although the Authentic Me is often a Big Mess compared to the Carefully Curated Me that I could project.
Many people have commented that they are surprised about how open I have been with my cancer journey, but I can’t imagine being any other way.
I bring the same Authentic Me to my medical practice. Medical training teaches us some rudimentary interpersonal skills, but you really need to develop your own style, which loosely could be called your Bedside Manner.
My own Bedside Manner stems from a combination of personality, experience, time (20 years of being a physician – how did I get here?), and – now – my cancer experience.
But as I heard Maria Hinojosa’s words last week, a light bulb went off.
Humanity and Authenticity are nearly one and the same.
The times I feel I do best in life are when Humanity is seated at the table.
Even in difficult or tense situations – and trust me, I have plenty – showing your Authentic Human self almost always pays off. This can look many different ways, including being vulnerable, sharing a personal story, empathizing with the scenario at hand or acknowledging the elephant in the room.
Because at the end of the day, what I think we’re all striving for is to connect, be heard and hopefully understood.
Humanity is a powerful tool at our disposal to get there.