This I Believe

Mary Ellen - Bend, Oregon
Entered on October 4, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

I Believe in Questioning.

Whether by natural inclination or by rebelling from a strict upbringing, I have often had a need to look at an issue from different points of view. Growing up, I frequently heard the phrase “because I said so”, which fueled my inclination to question. During my teenage years, the tendency to challenge authority, was not easy for my parents, but essential to who I would become. I occasionally tested limits and tried new things, thus developing my own sense of right and wrong. This carried through to college, where, I challenged the process of learning by memorization and blindly believing what I was told. During this period, my ability to question was cultivated. I realized that problem solving and original thinking took energy and effort and was very rewarding. Next came medical school where problem solving is essentail

Eventually, I have found the practice of questioning and synthesizing new information extremely important in my current occupation as a Physician in Complementary or Integrative Medicine.Successful,more holistic alternatives to standard drug treatments, widely used in Western Medicine are available, if sought. New methods and therapies,are based on research, observation,experience and a willingness to question. And it goes without saying, that just as I am free to question the ideas of others, others should be free to question mine. This can be difficult at times but allows for a healthy exchange of information. Specifically, in medicine, it seems that many commonly held beliefs are frequently contradicted or disproven. It can be difficult to know what to believe. Healthy skepticism and a willingness for re-evaluation can keep an open flow of ideas.

Without questioning, attitudes can be hard to change. An example would be a shift away from the current tendency for patients to request medications for a quick fix toward a system addressings the root cause-mental, emotional or physical- of their illness. Symptoms are a reflection of an imbalance in the person. Drugs often mask the underlying cause. Being willing to ask questions may provide valuable clues to more permanent and effective solutions. I have learned better ways to support healing instead of quickly going to drug therapies. The world of Holistic or Naturopathic therapies has opened many new doors and has made my work much more satisfying and creative. All this grew from the deep need to question. Because, after all, if we don’t question, how will we find new answers?