We’re All in This Together

by on February 10, 2016

We’re All in This Together

Business woman thinking about positive and negative thinkingRecently in my life two people very close to me were feeling frustrated over basically similar circumstances. They are primary caregiver to their respective mothers’ for large parts of the week. While they are grateful they can perform the role, there are times where they need time for themselves to recharge. Often that recharge time comes in the form of siblings taking over the caregiving role for a time. Sometimes the primary caregivers may ask for extra help. Or they just need to be heard as to their feelings. In both instances, primary caregivers have heard something of the following from their siblings. “What do you expect me to do? I work all day. I don’t stay home with nothing to do like you!”

If ever a set of words can be deflating to another human being, none sting sharper when somebody “devalues” their life. By nature, humans are prone to judgment. We have an opinion on most anything we see, read, experience. If what we see aligns with what we value, we will consider it good. If it does not, we will consider it not good. When something is not good for us, and we prefer to not do it for whatever reason, that is fine. It is not aligned with what we value. However, when we take the step of expressing our feelings on something we don’t feel is good, and begin to demean another for either believing it or living that way, we cross a very emotional line.

I truly feel and hurt for those two special people in my life. Yes, they may be retired from full time employment. But, it does not mean they do not have valuable lives. It does not mean that they sit around all day doing nothing. Before the caregiving became a necessity, one did work as a volunteer tutor for literacy, a mentor to high school students for their college applications and was a Big Sister to an under privileged youngster. The other who is newly married spent the time to be with her ailing husband, provide support for aging residents of the apartment building where she lived, and run errands for those unable to get out themselves. Many of those things have been put on hold as the full time attention to the caregiver role is required. Does that mean what these people were doing before that time is not valuable or special? Does it mean that it did not provide an importance in their life and self-esteem? Of course not.

Yes we are all under stress. Often we believe others do not understand the things we are going through in our life. And, that may be true, unless we choose to express ourselves and explain what is troubling us. However, the next time you are in a situation where multiple individuals are sharing a role supporting another, or someone reaches out and asks you just to listen, take the time to allow them to express themselves. You’ll be helping them to build back the esteem in their own life, while you will be helping in turn to build the esteem in your own life by helping those around you.

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