The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art currently exhibits artwork that expresses this generation of artists’ views on their responsibility to the present and the future. The exhibition is titled Soft Power. The term soft power is actually a Regan-era term used to describe how the United States might influence the rest of the world by deploying its soft assets, such as culture and foreign policies, to attract allies rather than by military threats. The creativity of these artists inspired me to think about how soft assets can be used to promote health in our communities.
Health and Soft Power
I have a few patients who describe themselves as the “odd ones” or the “difficult ones” in their families. Their daily diet of vegetables and fruit smoothies, along with their complete avoidance of fast foods, are laughed upon. Their quest for helping the whole family achieve good health is considered an annoyance. If this description applies to you, don’t give up! Rather than forcing vegetables down your children’s throats, invite them to grow or shop and prepare foods with you. Give them different options to choose from. Rather than nagging your spouse to exercise more, find an activity that you both enjoy and exercise together so that you can support each other and enjoy quality time. Imposing soft power is challenging because it requires a lot of communication and patience, and needs to be done in a loving way. However, it is worth it because it’s more effective and rewarding than forcing a loved one to change their unhealthy habits.
As we enter into the year 2020, let’s set ourselves up to be the role models of our community. We must live what we preach, and we must share what we learn. We must encourage the frustrated, and we must cheer on the ones who make breakthroughs. To live a healthy life, we start with ourselves and we pave the way for others to follow. May your 2020 be filled with good health!