In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a very handsome hunter who spurned all those who sought his love. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, caused Narcissus to fall in love with his reflected image in a pool of water. Without realizing it was only a reflection of himself, Narcissus was so captivated by the image that he couldn’t leave the pool and consequently died.
While most of us are able to avoid becoming fully narcissistic, we each struggle with some degree with self-centeredness. Physicians are not immune to this struggle. Everywhere we go, we are treated with respect, our opinions are sought, and orders obeyed. It’s hard not to get “hung up” on yourself to some degree after experiencing patient worship through the day.
Self-centeredness can also manifest itself simply through a self-focus. Our thoughts can consist solely of matters relating to us. We think about our day, our yesterday, our tomorrow. We can ponder our struggles, our weaknesses, or revel in our strengths. Regardless, our thoughts in one way or another are centered on ourselves. Instead of thinking of others and being aware of our surroundings, we can become trapped into a pattern of what I would term self-thinking.
One of the best antidotes for self-centeredness or recurrent self-thinking is thankfulness. I’ve found that when my thought patterns are becoming more self-focused, I can break through it by moving into an attitude of thankfulness.
The context of these verses is the placement of the Ark of the Covenant into a tent that David had prepared for it. During that ceremony, David expresses his thankfulness to the Lord for all that the Lord has done for him.
Like David, there is much that we should be thankful for. We should be thankful for our ability to practice medicine and have a meaningful impact in the lives of our patients. We should be thankful for the many blessings, both material and non-material that the practice of medicine brings to us. From there, we can look around us and give thanks for things great and small as we go through our day.
Prayer: Lord thank you for ALL that you have given me! Amen