It’s Not Them, It’s YOU: 3 Ways to Teach People How to Treat You

Teach People How to Treat You

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Physician, Heal Thyself.” And recently that came up to bite me right on the butt.

I walk the talk – which means I have coaches of my own and practice self-awareness constantly, BUT lately I was made aware (horrors!) that I haven’t been making the best choices lately.

Guess it’s time for me to come clean.

After working Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and feeling pretty wiped out by it all, I found myself commenting to others, “I don’t know how that happened.”

After that phrase came out of my mouth for the fifth time, I stopped mid-phrase. Duh. I did know how it happened.

I hadn’t told my secretary to schedule me out of the operating room! She was plodding along, assuming that my intent was to be crazy-busy for the holidays. Why would she think otherwise? I hadn’t said a single word to her, or even sent an email to ask her to slow that train way down.

Once I saw where I was missing my mojo, I looked around to see if there were other gaps in my force field.

Uh. Sure ‘nuff.

There was that time a few weeks ago when I told my parents that my husband and I were going on a trip and my dad replied, “You are always going on vacation.” I just laughed it off, but what I should have said was…

“Well, actually, we haven’t been on a vacation together in over five months, and vacations are part of the glue that our marriage needs on a regular basis.”


Even with patients, I was missing the mark. While talking with a patient in the pre-op area, here’s what I encountered. Like many of you, I was reviewing the plan for surgery (which I had thoroughly done, complete with drawings, at the time of their office visit). Instead of nodding, the patient kept frowning, like I was talking in Greek or something.

Finally, I stopped and said, “Why are you frowning? I’ve gone over all this before. Don’t you remember? Doesn’t this sound familiar?”

At that, my patient laughed and said, “Oh, sure, I remember. I was just giving you a hard time.”

Really? Sigh.

What’s the point of all of this?

It’s up to us to teach people how to treat us.

You may not see it yet, but trust me. It’s not their problem. It’s ours.  Tweet: It’s up to us to teach people how to treat us.

What can we do to make it better? And how can we remember to take care of ourselves first?

Here are three ways to teach people how to treat you, starting now:

1) Be as honest and to-the-point with each interaction as possible.

2) When things don’t add up (like my holiday schedule), ask yourself how this can be and make sure that your intentions are heard.

3) Course correct. When the wind is blowing in a different direction, a good sailor knows to alter the sails to keep the boat on target.


Now, how you could change a few things in your world? Share it here so we can all learn from each other.



CATEGORIES: Blog, Connection on February 9, 2016 by Starla Fitch, M.D.

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