Caretaking has many facets – spouse to spouse, parent to child, child to parent, sibling to sibling, friend to friend and much more. Caretaking can often be lonely, consuming and harried. People will ask how is (whoever you are caring for,) but neglect to inquire how you are doing. You smile and carry on and accept it isn’t about you, yet a piece of you begins to resent this intrusion in your life and wonders ‘how did I get to this place?’ It is not always by ‘choice’ that we help one another.
For years, I would feel guilty feeling this way. Thanks to a Cursillo Retreat, I learned that feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are. God gave us feelings to help us communicate. By not expressing feelings, we can be led to grief, guilt and anxiety, plus causing distance in our relationships.
As the Psalm says, God is guarding all our ways and encourages us to express our needs also. Feelings can often get suppressed, disrespected or lost in daily living. There is no way one can be a mind reader for our needs and so communication is vital.
The benefits of openly and gently expressing feelings can be the creation of an atmosphere of honesty and will bring peace to our situations. Most of us are brought to caretaking because we love and rightly so, we need to love ourselves equally. It is not selfish to prioritize your own needs. Self-care is immensely practical and as one takes care of their needs, they are able to care for others. It can cost you something to be in their story and to not attend to your needs, is doing yourself a disservice. We trust You, Lord, to guard all the parts of our lives and for us to become increasingly aware, wherever we are, You are there!
Can anyone identify with this blog? All are welcome to share feelings, comments or suggestions for future blogs.