Coping Skills: #76. Get Another Opinion

“Your weight is only part of your overall health,” my doctor comforted yesterday morning when I told her that my dietitian worried about my weight gain. “It is not much at all. Plus, your vital signs and overall health have never been so good. This can be difficult, but please try not to dwell only on the number.”

Hearing my doctor say this did not erase my hatred of my body. However, her response was helpful after feeling extremely fat and ugly. Perhaps my body is more healthy at this weight even if I feel huge. After all, my goal range with my dietitian was on the low end of the BMI range for my height. That is not the point, however. What I discovered yesterday was the importance of getting a second opinion.

Everyone makes mistakes or can miscalculate something. Medical professionals are human too and make these errors. We can learn to be forgiving while still holding people to a high standard of correctness. This is especially true if the person’s opinion or idea will impact you or a loved one’s health strongly.

For example, many people will go to several psychologists, dentists, and barbers to find someone that is trustworthy. If one of these people gives you iffy information, you ask another person in the field for the answer. By searching for the right caregiver and correct response, we can have a larger role in the treatment that we are given.

This coping skill adds a sense of empowerment and emphasizes your role in your life. If someone tells you that you need to pay the government $500,000, do you believe them right away or search for more answers? When a doctor suggests painful and potentially deadly surgery, do you look for another opinion or just go along blindly? Even in simple things, you can get another opinion. This dietitian recommended more grains in your diet but you are unsure. Why not find someone else to verify the first advice or point you in another direction.

Overall, this coping skill is about not choosing simple because you are told but looking into all of the possibilities. If we are willing to get another opinion, we might learn more and feel more secure in our final decision. Hearing another response to my weight was very helpful. How can using this skill bring more peace and confidence to you?

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