Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 2019

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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51 February/March 2019 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM When we reflect on the truth of these words, we're reminded about the Japanese art form of Kintsugi, which involves repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object rather than something to disguise. When restored, the piece is actually more beautiful for having been broken. We, too, can accept and even embrace our flaws and imperfec- tions instead of trying to hide them. It's only then that we can be truly whole. As veterinary professionals and members of one of the healing professions, we must realize that we are all wounded healers. Coming to terms with our own complex mix of darkness and light will require us to tame our ego and exercise self-com- passion and self-forgiveness. According to Dr. Kristin Neff, associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas, "Research shows that the No. 1 barrier to self-compassion is fear of being complacent and losing your edge. "It's just the opposite," she says, meaning that self-compassion can lead to greater achievement than self-criticism ever could. This is, of course, easier said than done. But core to self-com- passion is to avoid getting caught up in our mistakes and obsessing about them until we degrade our- selves, and rather strive to let go of them so we can move on to the next productive action from a place of acceptance and clarity. Next Steps To develop self-compassion, do this: • Make the choice that you'll at least try a new approach to thinking about yourself. Commit to treating yourself kindlier. Call it letting go of self-judgment, going easier on yourself or whatever reso- nates most. • Try any type of practice, like mindfulness meditation, that helps you stay in the moment and, without judgment, notice what it feels like to get caught up in self-criticism. See how painful that is compared with being kind to yourself. Validate the emotions you're experiencing without adding fuel to the fire. • Interrupt the spiral of neg- ative self-talk by focusing your energy on something external that you care about, which can help you establish perspective and a sense of meaning beyond yourself. Take a break and find a pup- py, kitten or your own four- legged buddy to love on. • Meet your self-criticism with kindness. In a May 2018 New York Times article, Charlotte Lieberman tells us to, "Prac- tice what it feels like to treat yourself as you might treat a friend. If you said, 'I'm feeling fat and lazy and I'm not suc- ceeding at my job,' and your friend said, 'Yeah, you're a loser. Just give up now. You're disgusting,' how motivating would that be? So, the next time you're on the verge of falling into a shame spiral, think of how you'd pull your friend back from falling in, and turn that effort inward." The Power of Self-Forgiveness Here's a potential game-changer question for you: Are you willing to forgive yourself for your shortcom- ings? How can you stay out of judg- ment and be more accepting of your shadow side while still remaining true to your best self and responsi- ble for your impact on others? Mindfulness expert Sharon Salzberg advises us to open our perspective and hearts and prac- tice generosity with ourselves. She suggests, "If we're always looking for some object or person or thing to create a sense of completion for ourselves, we miss entirely the degree to which we are whole and are complete in every moment." Spaciousness and peace can be found within ourselves. How to Find Your Wholeness We pay a cost when we dissect our- selves into parts, some of which are "acceptable" and some of which 1 2 Go With the Flow co-columnist Trey Cutler is an attorney specializing in veterinary business matters. Co-columnist Dr. Jeff Thoren is president of VetPartners and founder of Gifted Leaders, a Phoenix company offering leadership and coaching services. remain locked up and hidden. Whether we're repressing our per- ceived faults or even overlooking or downplaying our positive qualities, the result is a decreased level of aliveness, energy, creativity and authentic expression. Bebe Hansen of Presence-Based Coaching offers two practices to help reclaim your wholeness: Pause and take a moment of presence. When you feel something arising in you that's unfamiliar (or very famil- iar yet unwanted), pause and take a moment of presence. Try to tune in to what is trying to be known in some way within you. Sometimes that's all that's needed to have a little energy boost. Make space for all voices. When you're under pressure, notice in the moment the urge to distance yourself from a certain as- pect of yourself. Be aware of having self-judgment. Instead of creating distance, invite and allow space for that part of you to actually emerge more fully, acknowledging it with kindness, compassion and love. You might be surprised at the wisdom available by giving these different perspectives some airtime in your consciousness. You can then choose what's next with more awareness. Hansen encourages us to wel- come "the hidden aspects of us we can now perceive and be in contact with. Even the sticky or scary ones, and especially the beautiful and talented ones. We might regard their emergence as information — as data — and wonder how that data informs us." Here are five questions to get you started for the sake of celebrating all of you in your wholeness: • What's your relationship to those parts of you that seem distasteful, or are not wel- comed into your identity? • How would you like this rela- tionship to be? • What parts of you (shadow or gift) might need a home within you now? • What do you imagine would be some possible outcomes (both scary and enlivening!) from including more of you in your work, your life? • How might including more of you serve your relationships? Some Final Words We leave you with this poem by Rumi, one of the most frequently re- cited poems in mindfulness retreats and courses around the world. THE GUEST HOUSE This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. The most important thing we can do to discover inner peace is to show up as our true selves as often as we can. As Brother David Steindl- Rast says, it's vital to be fully present in the moment and to be present with all we have, aware of our shad- ow as well as our light. It's only when we accept our own wholeness, possessing a sense of worthiness and dignity, that we can extend acceptance, compas- sion and forgiveness to others.

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