Saturday, May 18, 2013
You're Going to Have to Cowboy Up
Here’s the tough news I hate to give you: You’re going to have to Cowboy Up and be a caregiver.
My friends out west who use the phrase say that Cowboy Up means you’re going to have to toughen up and make some difficult decisions and do some difficult things.
I had to be a caregiver for my father and I’m having to be a caregiver for my mother. I didn’t want to do it for my father, and I don’t want to have to be a caregiver for my mother, but I did it and I’m doing it.
That doesn’t mean by any stretch of the imagination that I didn’t love my father nor do I not love my mother.
But, caregiver duties are sometimes so difficult and challenging—not just the duties themselves, but the feelings those duties bring with them—that they bring a wild range of conflicting feelings.
Guilt, anger, fear, frustration, irritation and even anger are all part of the caregiving experience; just as joy, fun, laughter, happiness and satisfaction come with caregiving.
And, though research shows that the quality of the relationship you had with the person for whom you are caring often determines the type of experience you have as a caregiver, no matter how wonderful your previous relationship has been with the person for whom you are caring you’ll still have, at times, negative feelings.
You can not feel guilty about having down times and negative feelings…although you will.
The up-side is that being able to Cowboy Up builds courage and character. And, you’ll be able to take the courage and character you’ve learned into the rest of your life.
You’ll discover that the courage and character you develop starts to affect other areas of life; your family, your work, your spiritual life, your physical life, even your ability to create and reach bigger and better goals.
Whether you believe it, or even know it or not, being able to Cowboy Up may be the greatest gift caregiving brings to you.