Last week I examined a patient that I have not seen for more than two years. His original problem, discospondylitis, was successfully treated and Max is fully rehabilitated. He now has a soft tissue injury, hence the consultation.
After watching Max move, the three of us (patient, guardian and I) moved inside and sat down. Max settled on the mat and I began my history-taking. About 90 seconds into the conversation Max rises, steps onto the couch next to me and lays himself across my lap! Did I mention that Max is an enormous Rottweiler?
Why am I writing this in a blog? Max gave me an affirmation – absolute and honest. He has never done this before. For the rest of the day I walked around with a goofy grin on my face and my head in the clouds. My interpretation, “You’re okay Doc. I trust you so let’s get on with it.” Behaviourists may say something else, but this is my story.
What is the significance of Max’s action?
As humans, we need to be affirmed. We want others to acknowledge our kindness, generosity, effort or good deed. As Gary Chapman discussed in his book The 5 Love Languages, affirmation is one of my love languages. For how many other people is this true?
When was the last time you complimented a team member? Or smiled at the supermarket cashier? Or bought flowers for the person you thought was so kind? (Sam, this is you).
Simple actions can make such a difference – every day.