"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."
When I first read this quote, I wrote it off as no more than a nice message that belonged in a Hallmark card. But when I came across it again a week or so later, I started to think about it more and more. And, I found myself repeating it particularly when I was talking with family caregivers about trying to achieve a more positive yet realistic outlook on life. Let me explain...
As family caregivers, we can all recall times that we've felt swallowed alive by an unexpected rainstorm, a storm that sapped our energy or stopped life dead in its tracks. It's easy to blame the storm for altering our plans, to throw up our hands and cede control. And the more storms that cross our paths, the more likely we are to start seeing clouds on the horizon, even when it's all clear ahead.
Over the past 12 years of interviewing and speaking with family caregivers, I have met with many individuals who simply accept the occasional storm for what it is... a passing shower, not the new normal. And because they aren't expecting the worst, they're better able to enjoy the good days without worrying about what's around the bend.
It took me many years to rewire my default way of thinking, to learn that a little rain didn't need to cloud my whole outlook on life. When I was a kid, I loved playing baseball more than anything; so on the day of a game, I would obsess over the weather forecast. If rain was predicted, I would sit in class looking out the window in search of clouds, even if it was mostly sunny outside. I spent so much time stressing about something I had no control over that I ended up missing out on the thrilling anticipation of the game ahead. And the truth is, some of the most fun I had as a little leaguer was playing in the rain since it was easier to hit those pitchers who couldn't throw fast with a wet baseball.
As a family caregiver you may not always control the circumstances that come your way, but you can fully control their meaning to you and the way you react to them. And remember, if the weather looks a little threatening don't spend your precious time worrying about finding a way to change it. Instead, appreciate the moment and if it happens to rain don't be afraid to get wet. If you get soaked you'll definitely dry off and you may find a newly found emotional freedom refreshing!
Help Yourself. Help Others. And Happy and Healthy New Year!