Why Are We Tearing Each Other Down?
Most people know I am a Physician Assistant. I have worked in Emergency Medicine for the last 11 years. I see my own patients, place orders, diagnose, prescribe and disposition my own patients. I fully know my limitations and if I have a gravely ill patient, I always make the Physician I'm working with aware of this from the beginning but with my 20,000+ hours of experience I can manage the majority of cases by myself.
That's why recently a dermatology practice I have taken my whole family to really disappointed me when they posted on their Facebook page "We have no mid-level providers" using the hashtag #PhysiciansForPatientProtection followed by a graphic with "brain of a doctor, heart of a doctor, training of a doctor". Of course I found this insulting because it implies a patient needs protection from "mid-level providers" (or course mid-level is an old school term as it invokes the implication that a patient isn't receiving high level care and most of us go by Advanced Practice Provider/Clinician). They removed their post after several APPs like myself posted our distaste for this post.
It did make me think though. Why not boast about their years of training, the procedures they can do, their amazing and beautiful facility? Why not focus just on what they have to offer without trying to take away from the dignity of another's profession? In one word: Insecurity. I firmly believe when you are sure of yourself, you don't have to point out another's potential weaknesses. Do you see Chick Fil A comparing its chicken sandwich to someone else's and trying to point out the weaknesses of another's product? No. They advertise that they just have one amazing chicken sandwich. Why? Because they do and they don't need to tear down another business down to make themselves feel better.
When people feel the need to make fun of another or point out their weaknesses, it is just a projection of their own insecurities. It can be 2 women gossiping and tearing down a neighbor, yet they may be facing their own marital issues and want to focus on someone else's weaknesses so they don't focus on their own. It can be 2 co-workers pointing out the faults of another co-worker because they want to deflect attention from areas they know they are coming up short.
Unfortunately, projection of your own fears and weaknesses is something some people teach to their kids at a young age. You can see this portrayed in the cartoon "If you do not study you will end up like him" vs "If you study well, you will be able to make a better world for him". If we focus on telling our children all the positive things that will come from hard work or doing their best, you will raise adults that are secure in themselves that create positive work environments rather than toxic ones.
So here's my challenge for you this week, if you catch yourself in a conversation that tears down others in any way, stop yourself, reframe the conversation in a way that doesn't tear down others and make a mental note of your own insecurity that you need to work on.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam