Love Is The Strongest Medicine: Notes from a Cancer Doctor on Connection, Creativity, and Compassion

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How to Practice Love

How to Practice Love

Love, where art thou?

How to practice thee?

As an oncologist, I deal with life and death every day.

It’s what I do.

I treat my patients’ cancers while hoping for remissions and full cures.

I know that there are hundreds of well-written and helpful posts about cancer—you don’t need another one.

Instead, what I want to write about is love.

I practice medicine.

What I’ve learned after 25 years as a doctor is how to practice medicine well.

What I am still learning—from my patients, my colleagues, the experts I interview, and my family—is how to practice love.

Most of us are really good at professing love umpteen times each day, but are we really walking the talk while being our most vulnerable selves?

Are we actually practicing love to the best of our abilities?

Failing to practice love, after all, is what leads to hurt.

Or frustration.

Or feeling like a failure.

Or wondering why life seems to be passing you by.

This is especially crucial for anyone who’s gotten a tough diagnosis and may be confronting their own mortality.

Practicing love is all about showing up.

Showing up without a phone.

Without a screen.

Showing up to listen.

Showing up to comfort.

Showing up to care.

Showing up to just be there.

Sometimes that means saying nothing.

Just being there fully is sometimes all that is required.

Keep practicing.

I am.

Microstep: Practice love today by simply being there fully for someone you love. Listen, comfort, and care.