As I was getting my teeth polished the other day, my hygienist asked me if I wanted to do X-rays.
She said okay, but later on she returned to the subject.
“Are you worried about the radiation?”
I replied with a simple, “no.”
She went back to her polishing, but my lack of explanation seemed to perplex her.
“You know, I understand why you might be worried about the radiation,” she continued, “but the X-rays help us catch problems early.”
“Uh huh. I see,” I answered.
After another few minutes of silent cleaning passed, she asked again.
“So would you like us to take the X-rays now?”
“No thanks,” I said.
I could tell she still was not satisfied with my answer. As I rose from the chair, she mentioned how we could do the X-rays next time. I have no doubt that she had my best interests in mind (rather than the extra $54 the films would have added onto my bill).
I’ll tell you what I did not tell her.
I did not want the X-rays because they were unnecessary.
I know my body.
I know when something’s out of alignment. And when I sense this, I correct it quickly.
Of all the areas of my life, my expectations around my body are among the highest.
They go something like this…
My body is very strong, resilient, and reliable. It always does what I ask it and comes back for more, like a trusty old pick-up truck.
As for my teeth? I’ve never had a cavity. However, if I sensed something to be wrong with my mouth, I have nothing against X-rays. Zap away.
My wife and I had a similar experience after the birth of our daughter. The nice, caring people wanted to run some tests on our baby that we believed to be unnecessary. The nurses persisted but we held our ground (and signed some papers, of course) and they relented. Only then did one nurse tell me she agreed with my decision.
Again, these nice people were just following protocols, but we knew everything was fine and wanted to go home.
To do so, we had to assert our preferences clearly.
And that’s what I’m really talking about here…
As you go through life, there will always be well-intentioned people who believe they know what’s best for you.
If you’re not clear on what you want and how you want it, don’t be surprised when they take the wheel from you.
This goes for ideas, too. In the absence of clear preferences of how you really want it to be, you will likely adopt someone else’s notions of what you should do, believe, or be.
It’s up to you to stand for your life and how you want it to be.
It’s up to you to stand for your health, your wealth, your relationships, your sense of freedom, fun, and adventure.
If you’re not out in front of that for yourself, you’re just following someone else’s idea of how life should be lived.
And deep down, that will never quite sit right with you.
Pay attention and you’ll feel it. Just like a the start of a cavity.