In all honesty, there have been many times I've been stressed out of my mind in the process of handling my children's needs. It was easy to lose sight of everything other than the routine of 24/7 care and the daily struggles, goals to be met, fatigue, etc. I attempted to keep a positive attitude and reframe things as best I could, but honestly, sometimes it was just too much.
So it has been a journey for me to both acknowledge the challenges, the pain, the struggle and the overwhelm, and to work through them. I've discovered the secret to doing this, and while it doesn't grant a life full of happiness, it does something much deeper than that. Life isn't about happiness, its about meaning.
Creating a Meaningful Life
This has a lot to do with how we frame our roles in what is happening in our lives, just like finding positivity does. But when the "Life Jujitsu" of turning painful experiences into positive ones doesn't feel right or true, then we need another way to handle our overwhelmed selves.
Here are some ideas for how to do this:
1 - Develop A Sense of Mission: Remember you are uniquely, specially and intensely needed in this world to be exactly who you are and to do exactly what you are doing - caring for a child who has far more challenges is vastly worthy work! Try looking at your situation as a Mission you've been given, as something that is deeply meaningful. (It may seem like Mission Impossible at times! Everyone needs help in the midst of caregiving, and I know I'm no exception to that rule!)
2 - Ask Meaningful Questions: What is Meaningful About My Life? What Service Do I Perform That Connects Me To My Better Angels and Spiritual Core? What About My Life Feels Like "Worthy Work?" What Are the Ways Being This Child's Parent and Caregiver Adds Meaning and Connection to my Life?
3 - Love In Action! Practice remembering and meditating on the center, the core self in you that loves your child, yourself, and all the other significant people you hold dear. Then take a few moments before jumping into caregiving, to remember this love - to remember the CARE in caregiving. I know, it sounds obvious and perhaps a little saccarin for some, but it works. Becoming Love In Action will add great power and energy to what you do for your child and in your life.
4 - Celebrate the Small!! Small victories, like a part of a task that is learned, or a word from a mostly non-verbal child, a little step in a hopeful direction... also, small wonders that can magnify the depth in our lives - like noticing the beauty in the world - a flower, an inspriational sunset, a piece of music, a hug, a kind word - write down the small wonders you see and hear every day and you will be amazed how many more will jump out at you once you start!
You may think of many other ways to find Meaning in your life, to appreciate the depth of it, the blessings of it, even amidst the greatest of challenges.
I wish you joy and inspiration on your journey...
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