If you are like me, you could happily live your life without ever hearing another rendition of “Let It Go.” Yes, the ballad from Frozen was catchy – even powerful – when we heard it a year ago. Now it has lost its novelty, yet as this year’s batch of stuffed Olaf toys hits the shelves, the song seems destined to live on. As a dentist mentor, however, I must admit the song has a lot to say about what I do for a living. If you have somehow missed out on the movie, Elsa sings the song from turrets of an ice castle she has built using her magical ice powers, powers she has long reigned in out of propriety and fear of retaliation. The song celebrates her newfound freedom and her unwillingness to hide her abilities and the core of who she is.
Ok, so hear me out here. I know we’re professionals, serious-minded business folk with patients to care for and practices to run. But fairy tales live on because they teach important and enduring lessons to people of all ages. How often have you hidden what you thought or who you are? If you are like most people, you have probably done it a lot. If you are like most dentists, it has likely affected your practice in ways you never imagined.
Are You Holding Back Your Words?
As a society, we are encouraged to hold our tongues, to avoid saying things that will make others uncomfortable. Granted, some things are probably best left unsaid. We should self-censor cruel words and judgmental statements. Far too often, however, we hold back from stating our opinions and from letting others know our needs and feelings. We “don’t want to rock the boat.” We don’t want to “step on others’ toes” and, as a result, we wind up suppressing who we are at the core. This self-censorship can have a tremendous effect on our personal well-being, as well as our relationships with others. When you explode at a team member or a spouse over a trivial matter, it is likely because you have concealed your true feelings or left your own needs unspoken.
Sometimes, this self-censoring has less self-effacing motives. Often, we do not express our love and appreciation. Perhaps it is embarrassment, or perhaps we simply do not realize how much we take our families and employees for granted.
A Dentist Mentor Can Help
With some honest assessment, you can stop the negative cycle of self-censorship. Take an honest look at your life and ask yourself when you over-filter your own words. Maybe your hygienist is habitually late to team meetings, and you haven’t called her out for fear of disrupting office peace. Perhaps your feel like your wife has spent more time with her friends than she has with you. Maybe you haven’t told your husband how much he means to you. Whatever the areas in which you continually self-censor, identify them and make positive plans to overcome this censorship. If necessary, rehearse these things over and over until you feel comfortable saying what you need to say. A dentist mentor can be of great assistance, helping you discern areas of censorship and take the necessary steps to overcome those hurdles. As you get more comfortable expressing your needs, feelings, and opinions, it will become easier to break through the cycle of self-suppression. Then, in the words of that ever-present ice princess, you will be able to “Let It Go.”