Answering the “what do you do” question

Lately I have been having very similar conversations with my fellow professionals who are in the alternative medicine field: energy healing, hypnotherapy, sound healing, yoga, meditation, etc. We talked about how we answer the “what do you do for a living” question. Speaking with each person I noticed a very peculiar thing – presence of embarrassment or even shame in belonging to an alternative field of medicine. It is as if we were doing our best to (heaven forbid) not offend someone with our personal decisions.

People! How can we do our job well if we are not comfortable with our own choices? How can we help people if we feel any embarrassment or shame behind what we do? Why do we feel that we have to censor ourselves or pick our words carefully as not to offend someone? Why does the opinion of another person carry a higher value than our own opinion of ourselves?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about getting up on a soap box and preaching that people must follow our chosen life’s path. I’m not advising on convincing people to accept that there’s life after death or that crystals have superpowers or that we should eat only vegetables or only meat. I am not telling anyone to come up to a stranger and make an off-key comment about that big black rip in their aura. Or to tell someone there’s an energy stuck to them. Or oh-so-kindly mention to someone that they are an energy vampire and they better cut it out because… you know… karma. I am not advising anyone to shove crystals into their friends’ faces for “spiritual health.”

That’s pretty rude in my view. Even if you follow it with “God bless your soul.”  Remember the golden rule about giving advice – only do it when someone ask for it.

But to be uncomfortable with what we chose as our life’s work just because someone else may not see it as something valuable? To sensor ourselves for fear of being misunderstood or judged? To use wishy-washy terms to loosely describe what we do instead of coming right out and saying it? To take a tongue in cheek approach when describing our life’s path?

We chose to do this work. No one held a gun to our heads and forced us to take up the profession of a psychic… or a yoga teacher… or an energy healer. We chose it and for many of us it was not an easy choice. It took hard work, sacrifice and at times blind faith to get to where we are today. We spent time and money. We studied. We exposed our most painful past. We shed endless tears. We broke off relationships. We moved to new cities. We gave up comfort and predictability. We did that and more just so that we could be right here and right now.

So, let’s not hide behind our words and our insecurities. Call a spade a spade. But do it when asked. And respect other people’s choices to disagree with our decisions. After all, how can we expect someone to respect our life’s decisions when we do not respect their choices to follow their own path. Even if their path runs in the opposite direction of ours.


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