Doctor comes from the Latin word docere, which means to teach. As an ND, this is my goal with every patient. This means removing barriers to health and promoting healthy lifestyle practices. What I do not often have a chance to say, is that my patients also inspire me. Every day I learn from their stories, struggles and victories.
One of my favourite philosophers and essayists, is Ralph Waldo Emerson. His essay on Self Reliance provides many lessons that I often wish I had time to teach my patients. Here is one of my favourite excerpts:
There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that in which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without pre-established harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.
Here is my translation. I hope they inspire the best in you:
It is your choice to be great. To create the life you love is reliant upon you.
Work hard and do not heed the voices of others. Listen to your own voice alone.
There has never been another you in time or space. Be all that you are, with all your talents, desires, and unique perspectives. Share your genius with others.
Be bold in what you do!
Do work that inspires you. Do your best at these tasks and this is where happiness lives.