What teeth cleaning and personal growth have in common?
Today I went for teeth cleaning after more than 1 year, went through painful 45 minutes, and got back my spotless teeth without dental calculus (I love how it feels when my tongue touches the teeth after cleaning - you know it :)
Think about it: it is one of the most torturing experiences that we voluntarily invite ourselves into, to suffer now, for better teeth and health in the future.
To distract myself a little bit from the pain, I mindfully observed how I went through that most uncomfortable process:
1) Focus on my breath, intentionally taking long breath in and breath out
2) Acknowledge that pain, make a sound when it hits me
3) Envision my shinning teeth and that "spotless clean" feeling from my tongue later
4) Cheer silently when my upper teeth are done - "I have endured half of the journey"
5) Distract myself by looking out of the window, checking out the beautiful view
6) Seek comfort in the cheerful encouragement from the dentist (luckily I had one that has a really cheerful attitude and encourages me from time to time)
In the beginning of the process, I had the thought of "why do I put myself into this again?", and wanted so much to just quit. Bit by bit, I endured and then, voila, I have done it, again!
I found teeth cleaning resembles personal growth a lot, when we voluntarily (or sometimes involuntarily) step into that uncomfortable and painful process, knowing we will probably get something “healthy” out of it.
So here are my thoughts, on how to use my above observations in my next “painful” / “uncomfortable” process, for personal growth:
Focus on my breathing to bring me to the present, pain means I am alive.
Acknowledge that “pain” or “uncomfortableness”, out loud or silently.
Go back to my intention – why am I going through this? Envision the goal, see it and feel it.
Set up milestones and little steps, celebrate small wins.
Enjoy what can be enjoyed in that moment, seek the positivity and “the view”.
Actively look for support and encouragement from other people
Last but not least, do not wait so long for a problem to accumulate, visit a dentist every half a year, and tackle a problem when it arises.
I know I am going to feel dreadful of that dentist visit in 6 months, AGAIN.
And that is totally natural and OK.