Our disposition right now determines our memories down the road. It is important for us to be mindful of the story we are writing to ensure that our values are woven throughout it. We are ultimately in charge of taking hold of that mental pen and thinking before “inking” the situation into our minds and hearts.
There are many different ways family caregivers will view their roles, especially when they seem to become reversed. I recommend guarding and editing your story very carefully in order to maintain respect and connection. How you interpret the situation becomes your reality, so instead of “I’ve become the parent to my mom,” which can lead to treating mom like a child, consider thinking “I have a different dynamic with my mom that I haven’t had before.”
When a caregiver becomes responsible for assisting a loved one with their personal hygiene, their internal story will build upon itself. A mindset that “this is disturbing” or “I can’t believe I’m doing this” will plant seeds for disconnect. Tend those mental seeds before they take root and grow. Appreciating the opportunity to help someone you care for is a way to keep your thoughts on a healthy path.
Author Stephen Covey wrote that a person’s frame of mind is the underlying map (of our view of the world) that drives all of our behavior. In “7 Habits of Highly Effective Families,” Covey explained, “How you see something affects how you feel and what you do.” He also stated that “all of us think that we see the world as it is. In fact, we see it as we are.”
Covey’s message is that changing the way that we see the world will result in improvements in our personal and family lives. I absolutely agree. Once we’ve internalized the messages that are coming in from the world we tend to grab on to certain parts of the story and replay them. It’s these emphasized portions that we remember the most, so it’s important that we choose them carefully.
I challenge you to think twice before answering the following question for yourself: what’s your story?