"Do you mean that people on Uranus can rewind their life experiences and correct them at will?"
The excerpt above is from one of my favorite early books (1983) by one of my favorite authors, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, now with 30 books to his credit. In his classic parable about an alien from Uranus visiting Earth and attempting to understand our strange behaviors which don't reflect our reality, Dr. Dyer uses his trademark wit and wisdom along with his keen psychological insights to make clear how useless our neurotic human behaviors actually are. He manages to do this in a rather delightful and sometimes wickedly funny way.
As a caregiver, I have often longed for a rewind button, when I have either done something really stupid, or said something that I immediately wished I could stuff back in my mouth, usually out of frustration or a total frazzling of my patience. I envied the rewind option available in Gifts from Eykis, on the fictional version of planet Uranus and could imagine myself holding my hands in the "time-out" sign in football and asking God for a "do-over". The best feature of rewind is that you get to repeat the experience having learned enough to modify it accordingly. Now wouldn't that be a handy trick for a caregiver?
And if rewind/do-over actually was an option, it makes perfect sense that it's triggered by guilt. What a concept! Guilt would actually serve a helpful purpose rather than just crushing unsuspecting, well-meaning people under its unwieldy weight. Hmmm.
So, the next time you feel guilty about something concerning your caregiver role -- about anything, big or small, of huge consequence or none -- consider the whole guilt/rewind/do-over thing. Without rewind, guilt does no good at all and actively harms us. So, as caregivers, we need to either release ourselves from guilt by acknowledging that we do the best we can in any situation and, being human, sometimes make mistakes or fall short of our goal. The other thing we can do is lobby for a rewind option on Earth. Somehow, I think forgiving ourselves is the better choice!
What are some of your experiences with guilt, release, self-forgiveness and learning from past mistakes on the caregiving journey? I'd love to hear about them!
Karen is a compassionate, enthusiastic student of life, who cared for her mother for 17 years. She brings her insights, compassion, experience and desire to share knowledge and healing to this ongoing conversation with others on the caregiving path. If you are caring for a parent, spouse, friend or other loved one this site offers sanity-saving tips, open-hearted self-care ideas, and an open forum for discussion, connection and sharing resources for the journey.
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