It’s hard to believe that we’re at the mid-point of the C-A-R-E-G-I-V-E-R series. Gestalt therapy says that we are more than the sum of our parts. I’m hoping that you will take what will be the 9 parts of the series and synthesize them into a greater whole. In addition to the 9 part I’ll talk about I hope you find many more aspects of your life as a caregiver that will go far beyond my wildest dreams. I wanted to do this 9 part series so that you, the caregiver, can acknowledge and validate your experience. I want you to consciously identify these parts of yourself that make you extraordinary. Caregiving is serious, but it can incorporate humor (think of gallows humor), creativity, and will broaden your emotional and spiritual horizons. Today’s entry is a no-brainer
G is for Generous
Can you think of any group of people more generous than you? Caregivers take on this role and don’t ask on the conscious level for anything in return. I’m sure like the patient you’re quietly (or not so quietly) asking and hoping for health and healing. You’re not asking for a new television, computer, or a trip to the Bahamas. You step into this role without knowing all the parameters from the start and with the steep learning curve you ascend to new heights.
You’re generous with your time. Time is a precious commodity, so anything or anyone that diminishes the amount of “me” time comes at a price. I want you to remember that since time is a commodity it has value, don’t sell yourself short. Stephen Covey in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, discusses the idea that we need to make deposits into the bank. I look at it as the mind, body, spirit bank because deposit is need to be made in each of your accounts. You do this so that one day if you need more than you have in the moment, you have resources to pull from until a time when you can replenish your resources naturally.
Generosity of time and spirit can only work if you have enough to give. That’s why on planes they say if you’re traveling with a child or someone who needs assistance, put your oxygen mask on first; then assist those who need your help. They are punctuating the point that you have to be at your best to be able to help others.
Generosity of time and spirit also means being generous with yourself. I have a friend from college and we’d be out somewhere looking at something that may have been a bit extravagant. Jokingly we’d turn to each other and with a hearty chuckle would simultaneously say, “Treat Yourself”. Now I’m not saying put yourself in the poorhouse. I am saying that to treat yourself is not a sin. This isn’t about rewarding yourself for your caregiver role. This is about honoring you, the person, who gives tirelessly and is often self-sacrificing (I’ll save that for another day). Treating yourself, or being generous with yourself can be as simple as getting a book, finding a sunny spot in your favorite place and turning the world off for a period of time.
Generosity of time and spirit is compassion. It’s the ability to hold a space of safety for the person you’re caring for as they journey through their health challenge. Providing that safe container allows the patient the ability to explore new avenues for health and healing knowing they have someone by their side, walking along side them.
I hope you’ll celebrate your generous spirit because without caregivers we’d be in big trouble. I guess what I’m saying is THANK YOU for your generous spirit.