On this auspicious date when Cupid shoots his arrows (and hopefully lands one on each of us!), how would you like to know a powerful secret for being your own best Valentine? Well, today’s post contains an important key to finding and maintaining a state of self-love. I hope that the concepts it teaches stay with you throughout that day and long after!
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In Part 1 we took a look at how you view your parents, and how your feelings about them and caring for them can add to your stress. Now let’s move to the second most important consideration in overcoming guilt and shame in your role as caregiver.
It’s another question, the answer to which absolutely affects the quality of your life every day:
- How do you view yourself?
If you want or need your parents’ approval and have historically based your decisions and actions on how they would view you, or on how you would be judged by them or others in your family, then it’s time to do a reality check.
The reality is, people judge. They judge you, other people, places, things, events…all the time, non-stop. You probably do some judging yourself, if you stop and think about it. It’s an unconscious, irrepressible urge of human beings to judge what’s inside and outside of us, pretty much 24/7 if we don’t catch ourselves and take a break from it.
So consider that if people are judging you, there really is nothing you can do about it, and you need to ignore them.
What, you say? How the heck can I do that – they’re some of the most important people in my life, and I can’t just pretend I don’t care what they think…” – and you’re right; you don’t want to pretend not to care, you want to actually not care.
“But how can that possibly be an ok attitude to take?!” you’re probably asking incredulously.
Well, think of the alternative: living according to what you hope will make everyone happy, make them love you, appreciate you, and think you’re wonderful only increases your feelings of powerlessness and helplessness!
My favorite way of explaining it is something I tell people all the time: “It’s none of my business what you think of me.”
And it’s true! Their private opinions about me and you really are none of our business! So stop worrying about it.
At the end of the day, you have to like, appreciate and respect you; whether others do or not is out of your control. Just try that on for a few minutes, like you would try on a new sweater to see how it feels. It’s a radical idea when you first hear it – but one that could bring you much comfort, peace of mind and freedom for the rest of your life.
So I hope you see now that I’m not saying stop caring about your parents, or others in your life. I’m saying adopt a neutral stance when it comes to whatever criticism, disappointment, disapproval or any other “undesirable” thing you imagine they think about you. No matter how much “evidence” you have about it.
Realize that people form all sorts of unshakable opinions about all manner of people, places and things all the time – opinions that other people might find at a minimum baffling, and at an extreme completely ludicrous.
These opinions aren’t easily changed by any outside influences, so trying to persuade them otherwise is a waste of time and energy. And why would you be trying to change them anyway? So you can feel better about yourself! So…why not skip the whole arguing and persuading and feeling bad part, and just choose to feel good about yourself, letting them have their point of view that seems to serve a purpose for them in that moment.
Don’t let concerns about such opinions seep into the background of your thoughts and eat away at you. Liberate yourself from the knot of concern and upset you feel about it. Let it go!
The key is to do it with compassion, forgiveness and an absence of cynicism. They don’t know they’re suffering from Ocular Fecalitis, so you might as well feel kindly and sympathetic regarding their confusion and misinterpretation of you.
That is the most freeing, self-esteem building attitude you can possibly take, and I highly encourage you to adopt it!
Please Note! This is a huge shift in a belief system for most people, and one that demands applying “The 3 P’s” of Practice, Patience and Perseverance. So above all else, be compassionate with yourself!! As you learn to remind yourself to let go of your concerns about what others think, just know your inner voice will be trying to talk you out of it!
What it really boils down to is something you may remember me talking about in various programs and writing about in some recent posts: “Who you are is enough!”
Continue reading with Part III of this article for another very important question for caregivers!
As always, if you would like additional support around this topic, please click HERE to connect with me for a complimentary phone consultation. I’m confident I can help you see a new path toward success in this area in our 30 minutes together.