Really…How Can We Be Family?
We Care So Differently
This is a picture of my daughter Danielle, my Mother and myself. I can honestly say the three of us all have a similar care style. Compassionate, loving, organized and person centered. But in truth, we were not always this way.
Throughout life our perceptions and roles change. I think at our core Mom, Danielle and I have been and most likely will always be compassionate, loving and organized, but at different stages of our lives, those characteristic rise and fall depending on what else is going on in our life.
For example there was a period in my life when organization took the top priority. It gave me a sense of control and feeling important… being the one to get things done! Of course at the time I had know idea this is why being organized was important to me.
Back in the day, it built a sense of confidence I didn’t know I was lacking, and surely few others thought it was lacking. I was the one in charge… Intimidating some would even call me. I could never understand that. Me intimidating? NO, I don’t think so.
Well, looking in the rear view mirror I can easily see how some would think that. I was like a bulldozer plowing through one task and then the next….Click, Click Click. No time to waste. So much to do and not enough time to accomplish them all without strict control and structure. Yes, that was a must for me.
Of course I would give people the opportunity to help…well tell them, assign them what to do and how to do it. Perfection was very important to me at the time. I wanted others to get it right according to my play book and I also wanted their approval. I needed their approval to feel valued, but again at the time didn’t have a clue that was what my need for control was about.
It was later in life I realized I really was in control of very little. My need to grasp a hold of it when I could, really wasn’t near as beneficial as I thought it was. And so after many years of being a rigid task manager, I’ve changed.
I’ve let go and I am much more open to letting others be part of, and contributing in a fashion that is comfortable to them.
Wow was that a shift! Many didn’t understand why I changed…or did I? Some sat back waiting and watching for the trap… It had to be a trap. Of course it was a trap. A control freak doesn’t change overnight! Yes, for sure something was up and most thought it was some type of “Covert Sting Operation.”
Looking back it was funny to see the reactions. I explained my reason for change to everyone once and then let that go to. No more did I feel a need to defend my “honor.” They would either believe or not. Boy was that nice too… no longer taking responsibility for others reactions, perceptions or actions.
Eventually people came around and saw that I had really changed and I, yes I, could now accept help. I didn’t have to be in control, the fixer of all. I no longer look at life as needing to be perfect. It just is and in my new relaxed state I have found every aspect of life is much more enjoyable.
So next time you ask that question…
“Are we really related?”
Step back and think about what is really going on and why. Believe in the goodness of people, knowing everyone is capable to change at some level. Don’t look for the worst, as you will find it. Instead, search for the joy in every moment before. It is there. You have to look to find what it is you are looking for. Laugh in sickness and in health. Love without worrying that it might not last, and just be grateful it is before you now. Care for others as you yourself would want to be cared for. Remember, to slow down and think of how you are helping.
Are you just getting things done, or are you assisting them in feeling engaged and purposeful even if it takes a little bit more time.
Remember, how would you feel…
if everything was done for you, without your input?
I’d love to hear your thoughts especially now when times can get a bit haired during the holiday season.
Do you have that person in your family
that doesn’t seem to fit in?
Or is that person you
and you just have not recognized it like?
I am a member of AARP’s blogger kitchen cabinet on caregiving issues. All opinions are my own Lori La Bey.