As caregivers, we sometimes encounter feelings of negativity, such as resentment, hate, anger or even fear. We might even experience mixed feelings bouncing back and forth from a negative to a positive.
Most of us don't like to admit that we can have these feelings, which may be provoked by other individuals or situations. Find time to reflect and ask yourself:
- What are some of your negative emotions that you are conscious of?
- What are some of the reasons for your negative emotions?
- Can you get in touch with some of your feelings of inadequacy, of inferiority and even fear itself, or fear of the unknown?
Many of us are quick to judge or find fault with others. We may focus on the negative conditions while others are able to look at situations in a more positive light. Those who can search for the positives in situations search for options or choices. They don't allow themselves to get stuck.
Are you more negative or more positive most of the time?
We all have the power to change ourselves. It is only a matter of looking at ourselves by examining our attitudes and desires. Then we can make a conscientious choice to help ourselves. Time heals and before we know it we have built new attitudes of love, compassion and understanding. As long as we are aware of our own attitudes and are willing to change what we don't like, change can and will occur.
Many times we might lose patience or become frustrated. Sometimes we want another person to change; possibly the loved one we are caring for. We cannot change anyone but ourselves.
As caregivers, we must also learn to remain focused with the bigger picture of the process. We must have patience and we must learn to listen and not to react to what others say all the time. Those we react to may have difficulty in expressing themselves or they might use words that push our buttons. We must not let ourselves be distracted and work towards maintaining peace from within ourselves.
An exercise you can practice is to take a negative attribute and find it's positive aspect. Write it down on a post it note and place it in an area such as the bathroom window, on the phone or in someplace where you are reminded by the new attitude several times throughout the day. When you see it, smile at yourself nurturingly, maybe even laugh, and know that you have chosen to change this attitude and the change is already in action. Try it!
Gail Mitchell is a professional caregiver, has served on multiple caregivingboards, and runs the site Care-Givers.com. Copyright Gail R. Mitchell.