In our work with caregivers, one of the issues we see all the time is the challenge that people have in accepting their new lives. Their spouse may now be partially disabled or have a long recovery road ahead of them and their life is 180 degrees different than it was. When they talk about some of the difficulties they’re experiencing, there’s a frequent undertone of longing that their life will return to ‘normal’ at some point.
Unfortunately, for many caregivers, their lives will never go back to being the way they were, and accepting their ‘new normal’ is so important to moving forward. That said, it’s not easy.
Two years after Don had his stroke, I was still fantasizing about having the life we once had and holding on to the idea that we could return to it again. It took an unexpected medical situation and a heart to heart with Don to show me that things wouldn’t change, and to finally start accepting our new life. Once I did, everything changed and I began enjoying our life again.
I still think about the transformative power of acceptance, and believe that it can apply to any circumstance in our lives that we’re not accepting either because we believe the situation is untenable or because we’re holding on to an idea of the way we think something should be. However, Bb not accepting whatever situation we’re facing, all we are ultimately doing is preventing ourselves from fully enjoying our lives, and finding the joy and peace that’s ready and waiting for us on the other side.
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