A Tale of Two Doctors’ Offices

Here’s something to think about.

Today was dedicated as medical care day for yours truly, so I was in a couple of different offices. I decided to get my annual physical on the same way as my dental checkup. (I’m not going to tell you how frequent that is, so don’t ask.) I spent a while by my doctor’s office, and then some time at the dentist.

The first thing I noticed when I got to the doctor was a big sign advising me to not go into the waiting room, but to wait in the car and call “this number”. I would then be called and told when to come in. I was also advised to be masked on entry. Getting into the office, I noticed that all staff was at least masked, the contact staff were wearing face shields as well, and it seemed everyone was wearing surgical robes. I was informed that rooms were being sanitized in between patients, and the restroom was for use “at your own risk”.

The dentist’s office was very different. No noticeable precautions, beyond the hygienist wearing a mask and a face shield. The dentist proclaimed herself to be “over it”, encouraging me to remove my mask if I felt like it.

There was an extreme difference between the atmosphere in both places. In the doctor’s office, I could feel a sense of anxiety, to the point where I was seriously considering the risk of getting sick. It was a palpable reality; going into the bathroom could be looked at as a health risk. The dentist’s office, though, was completely relaxed, and had a sense of “you’re fine, no matter what you choose.”

I’m not judging either way. That’s completely not the point of this article. I believe, though, that there’s a valuable lesson to be learned from the contrast between the two places.

One of the things I tell clients is to consider their ratios and percentages. I’m not a numbers person, but if you think about it, someone who is surrounded by parts of life that are 90% negative or depressing are likely to feel much more depressed than someone who is surrounded 50% negativity. A lot of what goes on in life isn’t under our direct control, so we can work towards changing our rates by adding things that make us feel good about our lives. The 90% will still be there, but it will only take up 75% of your life, because you add things.

Our feelings react strongly to our surroundings. When we allow ourselves to be in environments which foster nervousness and anxiety, we’ll feel the same way. Sinking ourselves into calm will push us more in that direction. To a large extent, our perception defines our realities. It’s up to us to choose what we perceive.

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