What peanut M&Ms and the dentist have to do with flourishing

Dew and leaf

What does flourishing look like? Today it looks an orange temporary filling in my left molar and mascara stains on my cheeks. Let me explain.

My past experiences with the dental profession have not been great, and for over ten years I’ve been avoiding them altogether. That is until the other night when a chunk of my tooth broke on a peanut M&M. My avoidance days were over, and in a move of uncharacteristic decisiveness on my part I rang the next day to make an appointment.

Fast forward to this morning. I was a little anxious but thought I was holding it together quite well … until I stepped into the dental surgery.

By the time I’d filled in the new patient information card and sat down to wait I was rapidly spiralling into a hot mess. When the dental nurse called me in I had peeled off my coat, scarf and jacket and was trying to staunch a flood of tears with a tissue. I hadn’t realised I was that anxious.

Thanks to a lovely and understanding dentist, forty-five minutes later I walked out with my temporary filling and two new appointments for a permanent filling and to deal with a few other minor issues that have developed over the dentist-free years. (Note: I’m not encouraging anyone else to avoid regular dental check-ups, I’m very lucky not to have any major issues.)

So why do I call this flourishing? Because today I stopped avoiding one of my fears and faced it. And despite the anxiety and the tears, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.

Yes, it helped to have a dentist who understood my anxiety, and who had a strategy for helping me through it. And that’s the point, I got through it instead of running away from it.

I call it flourishing because I walked out feeling a little lighter and a little stronger, as if a weight had been lifted, and it has.

I call it flourishing because today I feel just a little more like the me I was created to be.

Image sourced here.

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