When To Give Up Convincing Someone About Their Health

I remember times in the early days of my practice or even before that when I first found an interest in nutrition.  I remember trying to convince people of what I strongly knew to be true, but I could not for the life of me figure out why everyone else was so stubborn-headed and dead-set on not getting healthy.  (My thinking at the time🙂  after all, once you know that grocery store milk is full of artificial hormones that make the cows fat and antibiotics that lead to antibiotic-resistant super-bugs, and it just causes phlegm in your body, and it’s only purpose is to make baby cows into big cows, then why on earth would you want to drink that?!)

Yeah, I couldn’t figure out why criticizing someone’s food choices didn’t inspire them to make positive changes in their life…silly me.  

Now I see my 8-year-old son trying to force his sister to do something like hand him a toy that he wants.  I tried to tell him, “Try persuading her instead of forcing her,” but I’m not sure that was very good advice.  Sometimes you just can’t even persuade people.  

Force is definitely wrong, but persuading can be kind of smarmy too.  Especially if the other person is like, “Um, no.  No way.  Never.  Nuh-uh.  Not gonna do it.”  

There were times when I knew that someone would respond favorably to acupuncture, but I couldn’t convince them to give it a good, solid try.  I used to use all these psychological tricks, like

  • asking them how their problem would change over time (hint:  it’s always going to get worse if you don’t address it) or
  • getting them to see that if they don’t change, it will impact their loved ones’ lives as well
  • finding out the health problem is affecting their quality of life in order to get them ‘on board’
  • refusing them treatment if they weren’t fully 100% committed to giving it a fair shot
  • trying to convince them that their health problem, no matter how minor, was a sign from their body of dis-ease

All of these things are true, but the realization that I had to have to give me peace of mind, was that it really doesn’t matter if I can get someone to understand any of that.

People either ‘get it’ or not.  You can’t really convince anyone of anything.  

The people who ‘get it’ don’t need convincing, and the people who don’t get it you can’t convince no matter what you tell them.  

It boils down to this:  I can’t care more about someone’s health more than they do.  

And YOU can’t care more about someone’s health than they do.  Even if that someone is someone you love dearly.  Even if they have serious health problems that they brush off or ignore.  You can lead the horse to water but you can’t make him drink, so to say.

You can tell people what is what, and you can educate them and give them your opinion, professional or not, on what you think they should do, but what they ultimately do with that information is their own choice.

How about you?  Has this come up at all in your life?  How did you handle it?

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1 Comment

  1. I believe in acupuncture! If my family decides it’s for thrm one day, then that’s great. If not, then it’s not my choice but theirs.

    Reply

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