21: Embracing Feedback and Improving Medical Advocacy with Amanda SabicerJul 10, 2023
Have you ever visited a physician and had so much weight stigma and bias thrown at you, that you end up going home feeling defeated and bad about yourself? Knowing how to effectively give and receive feedback can be a very powerful tool in these situations, and help you to discern what resonates with you and what can be left behind.
I recently chatted to one of my best friends and business coach, Amanda Sabicer, who has a very unique take on feedback and practical advice on how to become the authority on yourself.
Our society doesn't truly embrace feedback. We talk about it in terms of criticism, and it becomes very personal. However, many people don’t realize how feedback is a powerful tool that can play a big role in helping to unlock your greatness. By “greatness”, we mean embracing who you are on the inside, letting other people see it, and letting yourself shine. Until we can embrace feedback, there's always a piece of us that's hiding. We're either hiding from others or we're hiding from ourselves.
The key piece with feedback is recognizing that it's actually two parts:
- There's the feedback you're getting externally, which is other people's observations of you. You have a chance to absorb that feedback and check if it resonates with you or not.
- There’s also internal feedback that's happening as well. These are the things that you are thinking about. If you are allowing yourself to see yourself, you get to know yourself better, and it's an amazing tool for growth.
How often is it that you go into a doctor's office and they put their thoughts and opinions on you and your response is to feel shame? But we can start to acknowledge that what just came in was external, and now you get to decide what to think and believe.
What feedback are you going to give to yourself? What are you going to say is true or not?
People often ignore the second part of feedback because it feels like a horrible experience to get feedback a lot of the time. But part of your job is to receive the feedback, sift through, and then keep the stuff that resonates, and dump the rest.
How to start to work on creating internal feedback with yourself
- Before you even go to the doctor, you probably know if your weight is up or not. This is not usually a surprise because you're observing yourself, you're living your life, and you know that you’ve been eating more and you need help. That is why you’re there: to seek help. When a physician is talking to you about it, there can be a sting, but taking some time to prepare beforehand about what they’re going to say is the first step in helping to reduce some of the stress of the experience.
- When somebody's speaking to you with a physician hat on, you have to look at them and acknowledge that yes, they know a lot about this topic, but they're also human and they have their own bias and their own story.
- Women especially are trained to be “good girls” and to listen to authority. When you start seeing the physicians not just as pure authorities, but looking at them as people, it can reduce some of that automatic people pleasing that happens because you want to be a “good” patient. And so I would encourage people to redefine what it actually means to be a “good” patient.
I don't think it is the best approach to ever have someone be more of an authority than you are for yourself.
When it comes to disease management, you assume physicians have to know more than you because if they don't have true mastery over it, how can they have an opinion? But ultimately, for a lot of things associated with chronic health, they don't have all the answers. They are doing the best they can with what they know and are trying to put their bias aside.
Advocating for Yourself
In weight management, people get to a place where they feel so bad, they're exhausted, they have so much joint pain, and there are so many things that aren't working. And they've had enough. They keep getting the same auto responses every six months or year when they go to their doctor like “Eat less and move more”.
But sometimes the conventional stuff isn't going to work and so you need to look at other options or get a different opinion. That takes energy, time, and determination to have your own back during that process.
In reality, your body is telling you to take action. The body speaks subtly, and so it's our responsibility to pay attention to the signals and listen. It never stops giving you the message, but you might stop listening. How that often plays out with weight is overeating to try to feel better, because you feel so lousy all the time. But you don't know another way and it feels like everyone's slamming the door in your face.
So have compassion for that, listen to yourself, and don’t take it gospel what someone else is saying to you. You have the power to decide for yourself what resonates and what doesn’t. You are in charge of who is able to help you co-create the life you want. If you have someone that doesn't have that passion for helping you, find someone else because there is someone else out there.
More about Amanda
Amanda Sabicer is a nonprofit executive and a life and business coach for women trying to do big things. She provides 1:1 professional and entrepreneurial coaching to women who are ambitious and already considered successful, but are either looking to launch a new independent project/venture or resolve the burnout or frustration in their current corporate role. Using thought work, subconscious reprogramming techniques, and practical strategic & tactical planning, she helps them transform into their empowered, new identities.