To be present – what does it mean? How do we arrive to it? How do we yield it as a necessary tool in our future practice?
We find comfort in the things we can control, bury ourselves in the the areas that we feel competent in, garnering false strength and validations that serve to fuel us. We focus more on getting things checked off our list and being a well-oiled machine than being present – all mind, body, and soul dedicated in a moment which is fleeting and unrecoverable.
Why is it so much easier to be the person that everyone loves from a distance, but so hard to be that person that is truly loved – loved to the core, through and through. Charming love – fleeting and on the surface, is simple to showcase as it’s wrapped up with a bow that is a smile but gives away its intentions through eyes which are the window to the soul. It is the kind that is a pseudo-presence, without the raw truth and honesty that is buried inside.
Loving one and truly getting to the heart of others is a painful process. It is an awkward and uncomfortable process. As creatures of nature and comfort, we shy away from this, striving to go towards those areas that are easier, that are short-lived, that are pseudo-present. We crave to be known, yet paradoxically, we shy away from truly uncovering ourselves.
If it’s fear, out of what?
Fear of: comprehension, understanding, acceptance?
Fear of: looking weak, foolish, unrespectable?
No. To be truly strong is to admit your weaknesses and to not be afraid to open yourself up for consequences that are outside of your control. It is an optimism, naive as it may be, that the benefit outweighs the risk. It is the trait that we as future physicians must learn to embrace–to be able to open up to our patients. If we want them to be raw and honest with us, we must do the same.
How can we truly take upon ourselves this notion of being unconcealed, of having a lack of fear in reality, and of embracing optimism in the treatment of others if we can’t accept its notions in our own self-practice? Is this love and true presence not worth acquiring, through being vulnerable and uncomfortable if it allows us true delivery of compassionate care? Is this candor not required to be truly present?
As they say, all things worth acquiring don’t come easy.
We should dedicate our time not to trivial or self-serving tasks and accomplishments but instead to others who are silently crying for us to listen to them. We should be present, mind, body, and soul in our interactions if we are truly to get to the heart of others.
Presence, both in the silence and in the chaos of life, is the key to true fulfillment as it embodies the love that we both desire to have imparted on us and that we so strive in our day to showcase.
It requires practice, patience, and grace.
*Influenced by the book: Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Ethnically, 100% Romanian, and nationally, 100% American, I was born in Seneca, South Carolina and have lived in the Clemson/Easley area my whole life. I graduated with a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering, Materials Emphasis, from Clemson University. Athlete, scholar and former competitive pianist, I try to maintain a balanced mind, body and soul. I am ecstatic and blessed to be attending USCSOMG and to be part of the wonderful Class of 2020, beginning the journey that propelled me into medicine: pursuing the principle of people first.
Copyright 2014 USC School of Medicine Greenville