Changing Your Life

A woman approached me before a lecture and said “I heard your talk a few years ago, went home afterward and told my husband I wanted a divorce.”  I was so surprised I couldn’t think of an intelligent response before she went on to say “…and as soon as it was final all the pain in my jaw went away and hasn’t come back so I wanted to thank you.”

I gave her a big hug, told her I was happy for her and then asked what she got from my talk that prompted the change in her life.  As with so many of my patients, her early life experience had left her with low self-esteem and a sense that it was her role to solve other people’s problems.  It was inevitable that she found herself in a marriage where only a fraction of her love and support was returned.

Fortunately her problem-solving skills and compassion were much appreciated where she worked and her self-esteem grew in that environment.  There is no doubt she was seriously questioning the discrepancy between the respect she received at work and at home before she came to hear my talk.

My lectures to the public review the sources and consequences of low self-esteem and encourage people to view themselves as heroic when they have overcome difficult childhoods.  That recommendation for a change in self-image, coming as it did when this woman was already questioning how she had always looked at herself, served as the catalyst for significant positive life change.

It was time for my talk to begin and I never got to ask if she had shared her story with the doctors who unsuccessfully tried to diagnose her jaw pain.

Tags: ,