After 45 years as a GP, Dr Robert Favaloro ponders on what it takes to build a wonderful life. How happiness can be grown and tended like a good crop. It's all about following The Rules of Life.
Life can be exciting and an adventure. Life can also be boring and fearful.
My understanding of us humans has taken many years.
I see us as complex machines which are basically programmed the same way. Our journey in life is influenced by how well we follow that programming. The program has simple rules for us to follow and the better we follow them the better life is for us.
I call these the Rules of Life.
I began my life in general practice at the age of twenty-seven. I supported patients and whole families through so many crises. I was fortunate to treat so many of their children and grandchildren.
My list of rules for a good life, even a happy life, has grown over the years. I find myself observing human behaviour, watching people, and noting when the rules are broken.
Rule one is to ALWAYS BE HONEST.
Honesty is essential to a good doctor patient relationship. In fact, it is essential to all good relationships. This sounds so simple, yet it is tested every day.
We are attracted to honest people. Some think that white (little) lies were acceptable to make life's interactions easier. The reality is that any lie takes energy from us. We are going against the program.
So often as a GP I was asked to sign off on small acts of dishonesty - a request to extend a sickness certificate when it wasn't justified medically or leaving details off medical reports that should be included. It seemed easy to agree to 'help' people. Early in my career I realised this behaviour was helping no one.
Total honesty is fundamentally good for us. It gives us energy. It boosts our self esteem. We like people who like themselves. We are attracted to honest people. I see this as step one to fight off depression.
Why not start the day with an intention to be as honest as one can be.
Rule number two follows in two weeks.
- Dr Robert Favaloro is a retired GP who moved from Sydney to the Goulburn district 17 years ago.
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