The importance of being present
I wrote a series about a patient undergoing a long course of chemotherapy, a few years ago. This course of treatment was one chapter in a 30-year battle with chronic illness. What I love about my interviews with her was that she, being a professional communicator, could articulate her feelings clearly. She gave insight into what many patients experience, but cannot, or do not, share. Here is one of the statements that left a huge impact on me about the importance of being fully present.
“When a patient is not well, things are exaggerated. A slightly dismissive comment or gesture is magnified when I feel scared, sick and vulnerable. Helping professionals are ones who are interested and engaged with me. One who is kind, honest and fully present. I can always tell when someone is not fully present and it makes me feel on edge. I’ve had too many caregivers make mistakes when they weren’t fully present.”
Whether you interact with patients or co-workers, give your full attention as a sign of respect and compassion. We are bombarded with distractions, especially with technology. To be fully present is a habit and a choice. How will you choose today?