I don't like going to the dentist ... but I do. I checked with my Jazzercise students this morning; none of them like going to the dentist either ...but they do.
As I lay in the chair with my mouth propped open, listening to that horrid sound of metal scraping on my teeth, I decided to contemplate how I could relate this experience to anything meaningful for today's blog. I'm pretty good at analogies and metaphors, so here goes ...
I work hard at taking care of my teeth. This is a habit I acquired as an adult. As a child I was horrible. I put more effort into making it appear that I had brushed my teeth than it would have taken me to actually brush them. My mom was a real stickler for teeth brushing. I would run the water in the sink, run the toothbrush under the water to wet the bristles, and squish the toothpaste tube in various places to make it appear as if I had actually squeezed some out (all behind closed doors). See what I mean? It would have easier to just comply with mom's wishes and brush them. Add to this teeth brushing charade the fact that I would sneak cookies into bed and eat them after my parents went to sleep. I developed a great ability to get in and out of a ceramic cookie jar without making a single sound. These stories of disobedience are here to help you understand how I got to be the princess I am today - a woman with a head full of crowns and root canals, which have replaced all the ginormous fillings I had in my mouth.
Now that I am older and wiser, I put great effort into caring for my teeth. I brush several times a day, floss regularly, try not to grip and rip, use bacteria killing mouthwash when I remember ... that takes a lot of time and energy and I don't enjoy any part of what I just described. In my head this effort should equate to great teeth and gums and dental appointments filled with praise. That is not the case, however. My dental hygienist always finds something that I could do better. The periodontal pockets keep deepening and there is still plaque build-up and my gums could always be healthier. While I get a tad bummed out, I am also grateful that someone is checking on that for me because I cannot see in my mouth in the same way she can and provide that kind of feedback.
Have you guessed where this dental allegory is headed? It's about two things.
1) We cannot assume that effort equals results.
2) Feedback is important because sometimes we just can't see what we really need to be looking at.
I am not interested in your dental comments this week, but I am asking you to do a self-examination with these powerful questions.
PQ - Where are you putting in great effort and are making an assumption about the results?
PQ - What is something in your life where you could really use some feedback?