“He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, he’s gonna find out, who’s naughty or nice, Santa Claus is comin’ to town”Mariah Carey 1994
So its that festive time of year when feelings of goodwill and cheer are with us as we all try to be a little nicer to each other. However, without ruining the mood too much I want to talk about some who are not so nice, and how we should NEVER judge a book by its cover, or a patient by their attitude, or a physio by their social media posts.
As this will be my last blog of the year and as its the holiday season I don’t want to be too negative, but I do want to mention how this year has reminded me again how some so-called nice people can be horrible nasty gits, but also how some so-called nasty people can be the nicest most honest and genuine humans I know.
Now I don’t claim to be perfect in my interactions with people in any way shape or form, far from it. In fact, I know at times I can be a stubborn, annoying, pain in the arse who often engages his mouth before his brain, and I have made many mistakes and will continue to do so. I am also very aware and well used to not being liked and having many disagree with me, but I don’t think this is a bad thing, far from it. I actually think its good to have disagreement and difference of opinion from others, as George Patton famously once said…
Most of the discussions and arguments I get involved in are often frustrating and annoying but I tend to see a positive in them to a lesser or greater extent, as they get me reflecting and thinking a little bit harder about my initial views and opinions, and although I may not change them they may get ‘amended’ a little.
Nice but nasty?
However, yet again this year I have had some influential and well-known physios with PhD’s, professorships, and even a few presidents with so-called nice, kind, caring, open and honest personas attempting to discredit and ruin my reputation and my career behind my back with some nasty and malicious actions and accusations around my personal and professional life.
These individuals do this because they think I am unfair in my questioning, challenging, and criticising of what I consider to be outdated or ineffective treatments. They object to my strong criticisms of the over use and over promotion of passive treatments such as manual therapy, taping, needling and electrotherapy and neglecting exercise and active treatments.
These individuals dislike my bluntness, directness, and style of communication, often claiming that I am rude or lack of respect. They think I am unprofessional for expressing my frustration, anger, and annoyance and for using some ‘bad’ language.
These individuals often accuse me of attacking others, or them directly, without any evidence or examples. This is because its actually their interventions I am attacking which they are emotionally and financially attached to and have difficulty separating their identities from them.
These individuals ignore my work and efforts that support and promotes the physio profession and its role in using education, exercise, strength and conditioning and all things active. They ignore my sharing, disseminating, and reviewing of current and past evidence across all social media platforms.
I suspect that these individuals are in fact envious, jealous, and threatened of the reach that my views and opinions now have on and off social media. They don’t like how it questions and challenges their own views, practice, but more importantly their teaching.
However, rather than discussing this openly they choose to snide and snipe behind my back working in the shadows spreading their accusations in an attempt to discredit me and shut me up.
As I said, these individuals and their actions have reminded me never to take someone’s reputation, position, or appearance at face value, because behind a mask of a caring, compassionate person in authority there could be a nasty git full of hate, jealousy, and malice.
Nasty but nice?
However, just because some nice people can be nasty, it’s worth remembering that some nasty people can actually be very nice. This year I have been surprised, humbled, even taken aback by some of the messages and acts of goodwill, assistance and advice from many people, especially those who I thought disliked me.
This has also reminded me how I need to be careful in making judgements about others motives and attitudes, and not to make assumptions about others opinions or comments based on online interactions alone.
The same is also true with some of my face to face interactions with a few of my patients, as some of the best results I’ve had with patients this year have come from those I found the hardest to communicate and connect with.
I’m sure you all have had patients who have been angry, aggressive, rude, frustrated, and annoyed when you first meet them, and its very easy to make judgements and assumptions about them based on this, try not to. I have had a number of cases this year with patients who I initially didn’t connect with immediately, who I thought were ‘hard work’ and ‘rude’ due to their attitude and communication towards me.
However, with a little bit of patience (something I work hard on every day) as well as pushing back my immediate knee-jerk opinions and judgements, and instead just giving them some space to express their anger and frustration and listening a little bit more, trying to see where these emotions were coming from allowed me to understand, empathise, and eventually build bridges.
Never underestimate the power of just sitting back and listening to angry frustrated patients like these more. Never underestimate how powerful a few minutes of calmly talking through and showing some genuine interest in a persons well being can be in getting a ‘nasty’ patient to actually be nice.
What I have realised more and more this year is human communication is messy and complex, just like pain can be, and just like pain, there is no right or wrong way how to manage it. However, if I am being brutally honest I think most of us should deal with the vast majority of online communication no differently than how I think most of us should manage the vast majority of pain… that is to just fucking ignore it and crack on.
But in all seriousness, I do think more people need to recognise and tolerate the different and diverse ways in which people communicate with each other, and even if they don’t agree with it, either learn to accept it or ignore it rather than think they can or should try and change it to their way.
What I have also realised more this year is that there are some people who appear to be argumentative, annoying, blunt, even rude, yet can be more genuine, honest, and caring than those who are polite, measured, and politically correct. Often it’s the rough around the edges, grumpy antagonist who is being genuine in their thoughts and feelings, whereas the polite, measured, well ‘balanced’ individual may actually be hiding their true thoughts and feelings.
Wrapping it up
So there you go, a short review of some of the communication and other difficulties of the year and how there is often blurring of the boundaries between naughty and nice.
Often those who challenge, criticise, and call out poor or bad practice are seen as naughty, nasty, and mean but it’s not that simple. Often these are frustrated individuals who just want to vent or highlight these issues.
More need to recognise that highlighting poor practice is just as important as promoting good practice. It’s not an either/or thing. It’s a both thing.
I will continue to promote all things active and exercise based and continue to criticise all things passive based, and I make no apologies for this nor the way I do it. I will not let those in positions of power or authority with their vested interests and their fake personas of niceness put me off with their pathetic and petty attempts to discredit me just because I annoy, challenge, or threaten them.
There is no doubt that some nice people are genuinely nice, and some nasty people are just arseholes, but as Mariah said at the beginning, I think it’s worth having a list of those you think are naughty or nice, but make sure you check that list twice because first impressions can be deceiving.
As always thanks for reading, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year
Heres to 2019…