Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews The Bigger Picture

Being loved

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 08 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4845

Your Health Depends On You

Life is a quest for love. In order to receive love, we must be
dependent. In order to give love, we must be independent. The conflict
between dependence and independence affects every facet of our lives.

Life and love begin with our parents. As helpless babies, we depend
on their care. With the right kind of care, we learn to love them and
ourselves. With the right kind of parenting, we learn dependence and
independence. Of course, there is no perfect parenting. So we all have
trouble with dependence and independence. Sometimes we are dependent when
we should be independent, and vice versa.

Healthcare is reminiscent of childhood. The doctor is our parent, and
we are helpless babies. We feel secure in his office, and long for his
concern, reassurance, and medicine. We are awed by his jargon, worship his
intellect, and feel totally dependent. Of course, healthcare is not
childhood. The doctor is not our parent, and we are not helpless babies -
no matter how much we wish this were true.

Sometimes, the doctor's words, procedures, and medicine do not solve
our health problems. Often, our health problems are the result of
dehydration, malnutrition, and addiction. These problems are self-
inflicted and require changes in our attitude and lifestyle. It takes
independence and courage to make these changes.

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 October 2010
Hugh Mann
Eagle Rock, MO 65641 USA