I was getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office recently. I like my dentist, I would even go as far to say I love her. She’s a very practical woman with down to earth advice. And she was also previously a naturopathic doctor. Suffice to say, she loves health and I appreciate that greatly about her!
I also love my hygienist, Giselle. She is a tough love lady with a big heart and big brain for dental health. We’ve been working hard to keep my gums healthy enough to avoid a deep cleaning (lord, please no!). Even though I brush twice daily and floss fairly regularly, my build up happens fast.
As she was plucking away at my calcium deposits with that horrible vibrating metal pick, I screeched back in pain as she hit tooth #29. I asked her if I was in the top 5% of sensitive teeth she’s seen. She nods her head, “yes, you are definitely top 5%. I feel bad because I want to clean your teeth, but I don’t want to hurt you.” I understood. Then I asked, “Giselle, am I top 5% of clients who like learning about dental health?” She nods, “Oh yes. Most people don’t even care, I have to be quiet. But you I can just spill my knowledge out, it’s great!”
It made me think about how we all have gifts and challenges within our bodies. For me, I have to be super on top of my gum health, more so than most people. I was not gifted the genetics of great gums and our modern diet has likely made that worse. I have also been sensitive to acne most of my life, but fortunately I have learned how to manage it. But I also appreciate my acne, because nothing else has ever motivated me as much into being healthy. I hated being in my body and having acne. Living with clear skin is so liberating and joyous for me, I’m happy to do whatever it takes to live that way. Even if it does mean saying goodbye to a lot of foods I use to enjoy eating.
There are plenty of gifts I do have that I don’t have to put much effort into. My nails are strong and grow like crazy, my lashes are long and I do nothing to them, my eye sight is pretty good and I have never “needed” glasses (though my husband thinks I can benefit from them). I’ve never struggled being a good sleeper. I love change, it doesn’t shake me at all – in fact I thrive for it. And I have a willingness to go into the darkest emotional parts of me and set them free. That one may be my greatest gift of all.
We all have our gifts and our challenges. Is it really helpful to complain about what we feel challenged by? Or is it more helpful to accept our challenging spots and work through them? The “woe is me” mentality holds us in a victim place where we can be stuck feeling paralyzed from taking any action. It's ok to feel frustrated, angry, or sad, but you don't have to let it hold you back from creating change in your life. It sucks that my gums are receding, but that doesn’t hold me back from flossing every night. And maybe in the future I’ll have to do it after every meal. But I care about my teeth, and I’m going to do everything in my power to keep them healthy. It’s a more empowering and motivating place to live from.
Elise May, CN + LE, is the owner and practitioner behind SKINutritious. She has helped over 1,200 clients clear acne with detoxing treatments, holistic coaching, and botanical skincare.
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