It’s a new year. Actually it’s a new decade. It is said that nothing changes if nothing changes, so do I really want to bring my old habits with me as I explore a new chapter in my life? As caregivers, we can be pretty hard on ourselves. In fact, a common thing that we all struggle with is self-forgiveness.
Us caregivers suffer from a lot of self inflicted guilt. We wrestle with whether or not we did the right thing…did we make the right choices…did we do enough…did we do too much. Did I do all that I could? Did I do right by my loved one who has Down Syndrome? Did I fail my child? Did I fail my sibling?
We so clearly see the mistakes we made, the choices we made that did not turn out the way we would have wanted. We clearly see all the things that our loved ones lack and how we have been unable to fill that void and provide a solution for them. We clearly see all the hurt our loved ones have endured, all the abuse.
For some strange reason, when it comes to our loved one, we believe that we are some almighty being that should be able to fix everything for them…Are You For Real? We can’t even fix our own lives most of the time, why do we think we will get everything right when it comes to our loved ones?
Questions To Ask Yourself
- Did you do what you thought was best at the time?
- Did you try your best to make it work…juggling your own life, your job/being a stay-at-home parent, taking care of your home, taking care of your spouse, taking care of parents/other family members, putting yourself through school, trying to have a social life so that you retain your sanity?
You must remember: you do what you think is best at the time, based on the knowledge that you have at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20, because you know things now that you didn’t then…but you cannot live life looking in the rearview mirror…you can’t drive like that either, unless you’re in an action movie doing a very cool high speed car chase scene.
For The New Year
Forgive yourself. Maybe some bad things have happened to you or your loved one and you think to yourself, maybe if you had made another choice at the time, these things would not have happened.
All I have to ask you is: if you knew back then that this bad thing was going to happen, would you not have done all you could to prevent it? Of course you would! Also, we have to remember that, in life, some things are just not in our control…we can do nothing about these things.
Remember: the only person you can control is you (and sometimes, we can’t even control ourselves). So, stop beating yourself up for the actions of others.
Be honest with yourself. Why do you think that you are God…all knowing, all power and present everywhere at all times? The truth is, all you can do is learn from the experiences in your life and make better life choices each day as you go through your journey.
Happy New Year!
Caregivers, you are not alone. Reach out to your friends and loved ones. Reach out to other caregivers. Reach out to a counsellor. Reach out to us at HappyDowns and strike up whatever conversation you want to have…we’ll listen and give you our “two cents” as well.
For the new year, let self-forgiveness be your new year’s resolution. Shed all self-hatred, self-doubt and fear. Shed the need to be perfect. Shed you fear of failure. Shed the baggage of the last decade(s), one small step at a time.