Raise the Bar 

Recently I went to see a specialist to follow up on a non-urgent matter.  This doctor was recommended to me so I went in assuming I was in good hands.  Shortly into the appointment, however, I was shocked by how rudely he was treating me.  It was as if I was his entertainment for the day, someone to create a narrative about and pounce on in order to get a hit of narcissistic supply. In hindsight I wish I would have got up and walked out as soon as the red flags arose in my mind.  Yet because a doctor I really like suggested him, I kept waiting, thinking perhaps he would turn things around and wow me by some great skill or insight.  That never happened and I left feeling awful for having been mistreated.  I have been around a lot of doctors over the years and never before have I experienced such terrible behavior by a medical “professional.” 

In processing what happened I thought about the fact that I stayed in the room, doubting my own good sense to leave.  Understandably I was astonished by the situation and it took a while for me to realize what was happening.  But I am also aware that part of me rationalized staying, wondering if some sort of talent for which he had a “good reputation,” could redeem his degrading and paternalistic interpersonal skills.   I’m clear now, however, that such a bar is way too low.  Surely there are enough good people in a given field, that it’s not necessary to negotiate one’s dignity for high-quality care.    It’s time to raise the bar. 

The phrase, “raise the bar” comes from the sport of track and field.  In both pole vault and high jump events a crossbar is raised incrementally, challenging the participants to new heights.  Each time the bar is raised, more is demanded of the athlete, and those who cannot successfully make the leap are eliminated. 

Where in your life are you needing to raise the bar, to weed out situations that don’t deserve your time and energy?  Where are you accepting less out of a false sense of limited choices? 

Being treated with respect should not be an optional standard.  In the areas of our lives demanding better, let us raise the bar. 

May you be inspired!

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