Growing up, I hated brushing my teeth. When it was time to do my nightly ablutions, I’d go in to the bathroom, shut the door, turn on the water, wet my toothbrush, put it back in the cup, wait several seconds, then leave the bathroom. I thought I was pretty smart, but all it really got me was a mouth full of silver fillings.
Fast forward 35 years, and those fillings are in dire need of replacing. Since we’ve moved to Providence from New York City, we can actually afford dental insurance. I’ve been taking full advantage of this coverage to gradually get those old fillings replaced with stronger, less noticeable, composite fillings. Even though I’m excited about the results, I do not enjoy the process. I can’t stand seeing that huge needle go in my mouth to administer the novocaine, hearing the drill whir, smelling burning tooth (ay yi yi that grosses me out to even type), and having a numb mouth for hours afterward.
What was making this unpleasant process even worse was my dentist and her assistant’s constant bickering. These two are like an old married couple. The dialogue during my first appointment went something like this:
“Could you hand me the extractor?”
“I did hand you the extractor, are you trying to say you want the expeller?”
“I said I want the extractor, give me the extractor.”
Not exactly the camaraderie you want from the team who is drilling holes in your mouth.
At my second appointment, they started in again while we were all waiting for my novocaine to take effect. I knew I didn’t want to listen to them go at it for another hour and a half, so I asked the dentist about her baby, whom she had a photo of on the wall. The energy in the room immediately shifted as we all took turns sharing stories about our kids. Then we started talking about birthdays, and the two ladies realized they are both Scorpios. (No wonder they were getting on each other’s nerves – hello!) They gave each other a look where you could just hear them thinking, “That’s why you drive me crazy – because we’re so similar!,” and then they laughed together. By then, my gums were numb and they got to work. This time, their efforts were seamless, we were all more relaxed, and the whole process took less time than they’d anticipated.
Is it just that motherhood brings out the best in people? Nope. It’s because talking about our kids helped everyone in the room shift out of a woe-is-me, I’m-so-misunderstood state of mind to one where we were thinking and sharing about the people we love. From there, we even went up another level to accepting the people in the room in a new way. And all it took was a simple, “How’s your baby?”
Whenever you’re in a conversation with someone else – or even with yourself – that’s going the same-old, mind-numbing way by redirecting the energy. How? Bring up something you or the other person feels passionate about or is inspired by. Just ask a question about it and then listen to the answer. It will shift everything.
Try it in the next 24 hours, and then let me and everyone else reading this know what happened either on the MsMindbody Facebook page or by leaving a comment on my blog.
Take care and keep breathing,