Check out part one of Avery’s guest contributor series here.
How do you know whether someone truly cares or is just acting like they do? Are they just doing their job, and you’re just another number? This is a tough question. Whether it involves friends, family, doctors, nurses or really anyone, we’ve all questioned others’ motives. It’s a tough situation, and it’s especially hard when you are always sick and dealing with healthcare providers. It’s literally their job to be caring.
I’ve also doubted friendships — is it true friendship or pity? So, I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions. I even made a list of characteristics that determines if a healthcare provider really cares, and if a person is a true friend or just pities you. Here’s what I came up with; I call it the fundamentals of caring (inspired by the movie with the same name).
- They are not quick to judge; they communicate with an open mind.
- They listen with complete attention.
- They do not act like they know everything. Instead they recognize that everybody is different.
- They empathize with you — not sympathize for you.
- Lastly, and I think most importantly, especially in the medical field, they understand that there’s more going on than meets the eye.
In the movie, The Fundamentals of Caring, they remember this one word, “Aloha.” It’s an acronym that stands for Ask, Listen, Observe, Help, and Ask Again. If you work on these characteristics, I think you can become a great caregiver or friend.
When you are in a hospital, it’s so important to build a team of providers who care; for example, a nurse who’s positive, friendly, and believes in you. You can work together with fewer problems. Concerning friendship, a person should want to spend time with you; they want to learn about you; and they are there in the good and bad times.
I don’t ever want pity; I don’t think anyone who is sick really does. We just want friends who understand us and believe in us.
Hospitals can be lonely. It’s hard to make real friends there. That’s why it’s so important to have good nurses to talk to. I’ve been blessed to have some amazing nurses and doctors who definitely fit my “fundamentals of caring.”
Another thing to keep in mind: Just because someone looks good, doesn’t mean they feel good. I try to distract myself from pain and other symptoms by singing, joking, and interacting with people. Typically it helps distract me from just lying in my bed focusing on the pain.
So my message today: We all need to learn to care. Jesus never showed pity; he showed understanding. I want to be a friend like he was: kind and understanding, but holding each other accountable. I think the world would be a better place.
Do you want to join me? Please let me know. Leave a comment about your definition of caring. Do you have any characteristics to add?
By Avery Becker