NOV 2013

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

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continued from page 25 weight. Second, compensating behaviors don't allow the original broken relationship to fully heal. They simply hide it. 3. Use crutches and other aids temporarily. On the other hand, doctors do prescribe crutches and other aids when damage initially occurs. It is not unreasonable to keep weight off a relationship for a bit while the anger subsides. But importantly, doctors prescribe crutches so you can still function normally—not so you can avoid putting any and all weight on the foot. In real life, we still have to function even with a broken relationship. The proper temporary aids, like having a third coworker present or alerting another doctor to keep things operating smoothly, is allowable—but only temporarily and only in extreme situations. Other temporary aids might include compliments and extra "thank yous." Think of these as adding ointments or Icy Hot to a broken leg. They don't really heal it from the inside, but they do ease the pain and make it more bearable while the real work of healing is being done. 4. Put it up at night. Everyone knows that a doctor will recommend putting a broken leg up at night. This helps it heal and can be thought of as "draining the blood out of it." The same thing applies to broken relationships— you need to drain the blood out of them occasionally. Many a close friend and spouse have wished a loved one would put a broken relationship out of mind. Stop picking at the wound. If you wish, think of it as allowing your subconscious to work on the problem while your conscious self gets some time off. Either way, put it up at night. It will heal better if you don't obsess and worry it constantly. 5. Exercise it as soon as you can. Eventually, every broken relationship, like a broken leg, demands exercise and real use. This is the part that most people are afraid of. What if it hurts? What if it doesn't feel exactly like it did before it was broken? One piece of advice is to go slow and gentle at first, listening for when you might be pushing too hard and then easing up a little. But every doctor knows waiting too long is a much more common mistake than jumping in too early. Avoiding pain is a built-in characteristic of all humans. But there's a reason going "outside our comfort zone" is such a common expression in management and business. The difference between success and failure is sometimes just the difference between those who succumb to our natural human tendencies and those who climb above them. 6. The most important ingredient: trust. Did you know that a healed broken bone is often stronger than the original bone? It's true! The biological processes that stitch bone back together produce stronger bones than the originals. Is that possible with your broken relationship? Actually, it is. Consider: In our lives, accidents, miscommunications, and misinterpretations happen. Sometimes people will misbehave around us for reasons we could not possibly fathom because we are truly not inside their heads, so bumped and bruised relationships are inevitable. But fundamentally, people are to some degree a little bit scared and insecure. They are worried other people won't like them or will somehow "be out to get them." They are also very worried that they can't predict what other people will do. Somehow bad 26 Ophthalmology Business • December 2013 things will come their way, unexpectedly. The best human relationships eliminate these two fears. A good friend is fundamentally (a) someone you know will not purposefully do things that damage you and (b) will act in ways that you can predict. We call this "trust" in our normal, social lives. Our relationships at work require the same thing. We need to do things to communicate to people that they can trust us—that we won't "act out" and purposefully hurt them, even when we feel bumped or bruised. We also need to demonstrate that our actions are understandable and normal. They can be predicted, even when we might have a "right" to act out. These two things help people trust us. And a healed relationship is one where there is trust. Healing a broken relationship at work is perhaps harder than healing a broken leg, but it can be done. The bad news is that all broken relationships will require us to go outside our comfort zone and "put some weight" on the relationship, perhaps while we are still afraid—even when we know it might be painful. But in the end, a healed relationship, perhaps one so healed it is even stronger than before, is better than a broken relationship. OB Dr. Lauber is an applied psychologist and faculty at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He speaks and consults on leadership, personal growth and development, and taking charge of our own life stories. He can be contacted at www.ErickLauber.com or 724-464-7460.

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