Five Steps to a New Reflection

When I'm in a good mood, its amazing how many others feel as grateful and happy as me.

When I'm in foul mood, it's disturbing how many feel as crappy and mean as me. All these crabby and mean people have it in for me, too. I just know it.


I don't think so.

Consider your caregiving relationship. Your caree takes a loooooooong time for what-was-once a simple task, like putting on shoes or brushing teeth. Thelonger it takes, the more you feel frustrated. You find yourself thinking, We have to go!! We have to go!! And, then you watch as your caree becomes frustrated with the shoe laces or the toothpaste, slowing the process even more. Then, before you know it, your thoughts become words, which become hurt feelings.

A family caregiver once voiced her frustration at how long it took her mom to get ready. The slow pace became a thorn in her side. Until one day she decided to sit and relax as her mom readied. Those moments when she relaxed became moments she looked forward to because it wasnt often that she could do just that sit and relax.

When she once mirrored frustration, she now mirrored relaxation. Both she and her mother benefitted.

I often wonder whats in my mirror when I'm plagued by self-doubt or self-judgment. You know how that feels: You feel the self-doubt when you find yourself in a new situation with little expertise and you have to do it right, right now. Or, you feel the self-judgment when your caree seems to favor another, even though you do so much. In those situations, its hard not to think: I'm not good enough. I'm not worthy enough.

I can't see what the mirror reflects, but I know what happens when I feel not good enough or not worthy enough. Somehow, evidence presents itself that thesetwo thoughts are true, even when they are not.

When I think the opposite, I am good enough, I am worthy then I get back just that: Love (good) and abundance (worth). (The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan has a great story about worth.)

So, how can you change your mirrors reflection? Five tips to help you reflect the best you:

  1. Find the trigger, then focus on the solution. For instance, when you feel frustration, consider the cause. Are you doing something you don't want to do? Consider who else can complete the task. Are you overwhelmed by how much you have to do? Delegate to others: family, friends, professionals, your caree. Are you just too tired to complete a task? Take a break.
  2. Pay attention to your thoughts. What do you tell yourself? If its a negative, how can you turn it into a positive? For instance, before I know it, I can tell myself, He loves everyone else more than he loves you. What a horrible, and completely untrue, thought! Instead, I say: I believe. That's it. And,that does it.
  3. Consider your environment. Do your families and friends sound like Johnny Raincloud (Nothing will ever work out. Were doomed.) Be sure to surround yourself with a positive support system. Positive spreads and builds; negative conquers and destroys.
  4. Be gentle with yourself. Floundering? Ask for help. Grieving? Make room for the tears. Spinning your wheels? Stop and regroup. The only mistake you can make is the mistake in believing you are alone. Reach out to receive support and comfort.
  5. Focus on your positives. You have so many gifts and talents, but caregiving can hide them. You are a kind and loving person, its just that caregiving can cover it. Dust off your positives on a regular basis; take your gifts and talents out of the closet. You are meant to be full, even when the struggles take precedence.

When you find yourself in another tug-of-war with your caree or, even worse, with yourself, take a moment to consider what's in your mirror. Leave the bad in the back; follow the good to the front.