Earlier this month a student named Angie asked me a good question: how should she handle her situation at home caring for a partner who demonstrates signs of dementia. She often feels depressed, oppressed and hurt in interacting with her husband.
How can anyone have a satisfying life when spending time with someone who speaks negatively, offers little attention and almost no appreciation?
Yes this situation is challenging, and it also provides an opportunity. In such a situation there is particular incentive to focus on ourselves with love and care. and to train ourselves to see Good more and more wherever we look. Look for things to enjoy and as noticed, offer yourself more of them. Focus on ideas that support you.
Sometimes something unwanted shows up that actually is offering us our next step. If we play with how we see things, we can say– What strengths do I develop as I experience what is presenting now? Building this “muscle” can benefit us in ways we have not imagined. What Good can come from being with what I had not wanted.
What a great lunch I made him!
I offered to bring him a drink– aren’t I considerate!
Well Being is pouring down and splashing all over me.
I am enjoying growing into being who I want to be. I love feeling the strength I am developing. I love reaching for happy feelings more and more.
Isn’t it a beautiful day!
More on self care:
Get out into environments where you enjoy yourself. For Angie offering sessions in her acupuncture practice brings her great joy. She loves to treat clients and relishes seeing them leave feeling better.
Plan some treats for yourself each day. Yes affirmations e.g. ‘Things are always working out for me”, yes thoughts that you want to remember, i.e. “I am loved beyond measure. Source has my back.”, “The sun continues to shine behind any cloud cover,” etc. I like to shop in a charity store nearby. Yesterday I bought a pair of earrings for $2 and felt great at the bargain.
Eat foods that you enjoy and that feel like health to you. Yummy berries, fresh greens, maybe some fish… a power bar ???
Venture forth in nature if you enjoy that. The lake, the woods…
Take a bath or take a nap– what do you relish?
Grease up your back like a duck and let those negative sentiments roll right off.
When you are taking care yourself and priming the pump of feeling good, it is easier to remember that words from a demented person are not meant personally.
Do what is easy each day and watch for the pay offs. Make it ok when you feel hurt or tired or discouraged… it is ok and so understandable. The process will be gradual; the only speed at which humans make progress.
Allow yourself to see the Good coming from this situation you have not preferred. Before you know it, you will see that you are being led to practice embodying Good, this care-taking is the reason for you to beef up these skills. Embodying Good has so many pay-offs. This is just your excuse for getting better at appreciating and focusing on what you want and living your life with more joy.
Again, appreciate whatever you can..
I have had personal experience in taking care of a difficult person. When I attended to what I did with my thoughts around her, I did find aspects of the situation to enjoy. I watched and saw remarkable pay offs as the days passed. much Good flowed in astonishing ways (See the recent post “Influence we can have.”)
Another student has used this advice, over many months focusing on what she enjoys bit by bit and testifies now that it feels like she has a different life– even a different husband! She experiences tremendously more fun– this stuff works!
Do you have a success story like these to share? Or do you want to tell me if this article was helpful. Either way, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org. I enjoy the exchange. Each of your positive thoughts brings light to the world– thanks for yours and isn’t that wonderful to know!