7 Ways to Care Rather Than Care-Take

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
7 Ways to Care Rather Than Care-Take
Are you a caretaker?

Do you ignore your own feelings and needs to take responsibility for someone else’s feelings and needs — someone who is capable of taking care of themselves? (This does not include young children, old people or sick people who cannot take care of themselves).

Do you try to control how others feel about you by being overly nice and overly giving? Do you give to get?

Do you tell yourself that taking loving care of yourself is selfish?

Do you feel guilty when you do what you want to do, with no intent to harm anyone, and someone close to you is angry with you about it?

Do you believe that your value is tied to being needed by others?

Do you allow yourself to be used emotionally, sexually, financially, or regarding your time?

Do you convince yourself that you are being loving when you are giving yourself up?

Are you a martyr? Do you end up feeling resentful because you are giving so much and not getting back what you want?

There is a huge difference between caring and care-taking.

1. No Strings Attached

You are caring when you give from love with no strings attached, no agenda to get anything back. You are caring when you give from love rather than trying to get love, attention or approval.

2. Check in With Yourself

Before giving, check in with yourself — with your feelings — to see if what you want to do for another is truly in your highest good and their highest good.

3. Honor Your Right to Bring Yourself Joy

Far from being selfish, taking loving care of yourself is self-responsible. It relieves others of the burden of taking care of your feelings and well-being. It fills you with love to share with others. When you give from an empty place to get filled by another, you are care-taking. When you learn to fill yourself with love, then when you give to another you are caring rather than care-taking.

4. Value Yourself Intrinsically

When you define your worth by your intrinsic qualities, such as your kindness, caring, empathy, compassion, ability to love, creativity, unique intelligence, and so on, then you do not need to prove your value by over-giving. When you define your own worth, you do not need to try to control getting another’s approval to feel worthy.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Own Feelings

If you feel used or abused, focus on learning to take care of yourself rather than blaming another. Feeling used or abused indicates that you are caretaking rather than caring. When you take responsibility for your own feelings, you do not allow yourself to be used or abused, as this is not loving to yourself, or to anyone else.

6. Joy in Giving

You are caring rather than caretaking when you feel joy in the act of giving for the sake of being loving, rather than to get back accolades, attention, approval, love or acceptance. When you give from love, you receive joy in the giving and do not need anything back.

7. Saying No Without Guilt

When you love and value yourself, you can say no to caretaking without feeling guilty. When you value your intrinsic qualities and you know you are a good person, then others cannot guilt you into doing for them what they need to be doing for themselves.

Sometimes we need to care-give, but this is very different than care-taking. We lovingly care-give when we take care of infants and children, old and sick people — who cannot take care of themselves. Sometimes we need to sacrifice in various ways — giving extra time and attention, or getting up in the middle of the night. But when we are care-giving rather than care-taking, we do these things willingly because it is loving to ourselves and to the other to do so, and we do not feel the resentment that we often feel when we give ourselves up to care-take.

Giving from the heart for the joy of giving is a wonderful thing to do. Giving to get is manipulative and will never bring joy or create loving relationships.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a relationship expert, best-selling author, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah. To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week eCourse, “The Intimate Relationship Toolbox” – the first two weeks are free! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.

Connect with Margaret on Facebook: Inner Bonding, and Facebook: SelfQuest.

Decide on Love
Jeff was convinced he’d fallen out of love with his wife, Arlene, and that nothing could salvage their 26-year marriage. He wanted relief from the oppressiveness of feeling continually judged and found wanting. Arlene, for her part, was hurt and angry because she felt Jeff avoided any real communication or emotional intimacy. As a last-ditch effort, she convinced him to attend a weekend workshop for couples sponsored by their church. Much to their surprise, they both left with a glimmer of hope for their future together. The message they took away was “Love is a decision.” Their guides at the workshop had insisted that while we don’t always feel loving, love is here should we choose to awaken it.

Yet, back at home, when their old styles of attacking and defending were triggered, deciding on love seemed like an ineffectual mental maneuver. Discouraged, Jeff sought me out for a counseling session. “I don’t know how to get from point A to point B,” he declared. “Like when we were together yesterday… my mind told me to decide on love, but that didn’t make a difference, my heart was in lockdown. Arlene was blaming me for something, and all I wanted to do was get away from her!”

“Let’s take another look at what happened yesterday,” I suggested, then invited him to close his eyes, put himself back into the situation, and let go of his notions of who was right or wrong. “Just let yourself experience what it’s like in your body to feel blamed and want to get away.” Jeff sat still, his face tightening into a grimace. “Keep allowing the feelings to be there,” I said, “and find out what unfolds.”

Gradually, his face softened. “Now I’m feeling stuck and sad,” he said. “We spend so much time caught in this. I withdraw, often without knowing it… that hurts her… she gets upset… then I very consciously want to get away. It’s sad to be so trapped.”

He looked up at me. I nodded with understanding. “What would it be like, Jeff, if instead of pulling away during this kind of encounter, you were able to let her know exactly what you were experiencing?” Then I added, “And if she, too, without accusing you of anything, were able to report on her feelings?”

“We’d have to know what we were feeling!” he said with a small laugh. “We’re usually too busy reacting.”

“Exactly!” I said. “You’d both have to be paying attention to what’s going on inside you. And that runs counter to our conditioning. When we’re emotionally stirred up, we’re lost in our stories about what’s happening, and caught in reflexive behaviors — like blaming the other person or finding a way to leave. That’s why we need to train ourselves to pay attention, so that we’re not at the mercy of our conditioning.”

I went on to explain how the practice of meditation cultivates our capacity for presence, for directly contacting our real, moment-to-moment experience. This gives us more inner space and creativity in responding — rather than reacting — to our circumstances. When I suggested that he and Arlene might consider coming to my weekly meditation class, he readily agreed. They were both there the following Wednesday night, and a month later, they attended a weekend meditation retreat I was leading.

Some weeks after the retreat, the three of us spoke briefly after class. Arlene said that thanks to their meditation practice, they were learning how to decide on love: “We have to choose presence with each other, over and over and over,” she told me. “We have to choose presence when we’re angry, presence when we aren’t in the mood to listen, presence when we’re alone and running the same old stories about how the other is wrong. Choosing presence is our way of opening our hearts.”

Jeff nodded his agreement. “I realized that it’s not about getting from point A to point B,” he said with a smile. “It’s about bringing a full presence to point A, to the life of this moment, no matter what’s going on. The rest unfolds from there.”

Taking refuge in presence — choosing presence — requires training. When “point A” is unpleasant, the last thing we want to do is to stay and feel our experience. Rather than entrusting ourselves to the waves of experience, we want to get away, lash out, numb ourselves, do anything but touch what’s real. Yet, as Jeff and Arlene were realizing, these types of false refuges keep us feeling small and defended.

As I explore in my upcoming course on cultivating more conscious, vibrant relationships, only by deepening our attention and letting life be just as it is can we find real intimacy with ourselves and others. In more than thirty-five years of teaching meditation, I’ve seen it help countless people to deepen their capacity for loving, because if we are able to stay present, we can decide on love, and give it the space and attention it needs to ignite fully. When you are next in a conflict with a dear one, you might inquire, “What would it mean to decide on love? Can I commit to deepening presence for the sake of love?” Just the inquiry will draw you closer to your heart.

Tara Brach

Note: Coming soon — an online course on cultivating more conscious, vibrant relationships.

Enjoy this talk on: The Dance of Relational Trance

Join my email list: http://eepurl.com/6YfI

For more information, visit www.tarabrach.com

Puppy With Disability Was Abandoned. Now Dozens Of People Are Vying To Take Him In
There was love in the air this past Valentine’s Day when Ruff Start Rescue found a 3-month-old hound puppy abandoned in a snowbank in Minneapolis, Yahoo reported.

cupid the dog

They named the the pup Cupid because he was so full of love and affection toward everyone he came into contact with.

The animal shelter took him in, even though he needed surgery to fix his misshapen front paws, according to WCCO. They hoped to raise $6,000 to cover medical costs, but, after the local news station aired the pup’s story, the shelter ended up receiving $8,000 in donations. They are planning to use the extra money to help other animal rescues.

cupid

cupid

cupid surgery

“It’s been great. It makes us feel like we can take on dogs like this. That we can help the unfortunate dogs,” Azure Davis, Ruff Start Rescue’s founder, told WCCO. “We want to save them all, but taking them on can put them in a tough financial spot.”

cupid

cupid sad

About a month after being rescued, Cupid underwent surgery at the University of Minnesota to fix his front paws. He’s now recovering in a foster home and already has 75 different inquiries from people interested in adopting him, according to Yahoo.

I Used to Be Married
I used to be married and now… I’m not.

I married young and was married for a very long time — 24 years — before a largely unanticipated separation; one that eventually, I guess, couldn’t help but happen.

My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease just after he turned 40. A talented long-distance runner and veteran of many first-place race finishes and successful marathons, he was an extremely athletic and healthy man. When his foot started to drag and a tremor found its way into his left arm and hand, I somehow knew he had this disease but had no idea just what the implications might be. An initial diagnosis inferred that he was pronating and needed new running shoes. I insisted he be referred to a neurologist instead, and another potential diagnosis of a possible brain tumor ensued. However, it was Parkinson’s disease, strange given his relatively young age, but still there it was.

And there we were, sitting in the car in the parking lot before making our way home, trying to grasp the news. It was Halloween and we had four kids, age 12 to just a year old, waiting for dinner and to go trick-or-treating.

We both were in tears. It wasn’t the end of the world by any means, but we didn’t really know what it did mean or how quickly it would progress. We would get a second opinion and most important, we would remain optimistic. We were in this together.

My husband was a man whose first thought in the morning focused on what he would do with his kids that day. A stellar father, he would work long hours in retail, and come home and play catch, read bedtime stories, put aside yard work because his daughter wanted to go in the pool or go for a bike ride. If he were working a late shift, he’d do bus-stop duty, take kids to kindergarten, plan a special breakfast out with one of them, or assist at a soccer game before embarking on an hour-long ride to work. He brought pizza home late at night, and woke all the kids up to have a slice and visit with him.

So it was natural that one of his first thoughts did not involve himself as much as how this would affect his kids. He thought about his youngest, not even 2 years old yet. “What if someday I won’t be able to play ball with him?” he asked. We were both in tears, and he vowed he’d fight this disease for all he was worth.

And he tried to.

Medications often made him sick, dizzy and lightheaded enough that he would have to pull over on the highway on his way to work. Symptoms escalated pretty fast. Snide comments were made on the work front. He had recently started working for a national retailer and had been quickly rising through their management ranks when the diagnosis finally was made. He didn’t want to let on he had anything going on in case it might slow his ascent down. Eventually it would. At 44, he was forced to go out on permanent disability.

I told him not to worry. I would go back to work and take care of everything. I was 36 years old. My husband’s disability was turned down twice by Social Security although his doctors and former employer were firmly behind it. In a very short time, he had significant physical and cognitive issues, the latter, which we had never even known to expect, let alone have any idea how to deal with.

For almost a year, we lived on meager savings and my low pay. I appealed to then-State Senator Judd Gregg to please look into his case. Within a week, we got two phone calls on the same day — one from the senator’s office, ready to assist. The second from our lawyer. My husband’s disability was approved. Apparently, no one over the course of the year had looked at all of his paperwork at one time. When they did, it was obvious that he had legitimate reasons for the disability request.

All of this took a terrible toll on my husband, emotionally as well as physically. Although he tried to do the best he could for a long time, his symptoms increased and his illness eventually consumed him. He refused to accept any limitations imposed upon him (which seemed positive, but in time led to some serious safety issues), and his cognitive loss created situations often beyond anyone’s control. The kids and I never knew what to expect or what we might come home to.

The dedicated, loving father lost his ability to put anyone or anything first anymore, beyond than his own illness and needs. He was in survival mode, and as many caregivers can attest to, the playing field was no longer level. It was difficult to judge what was illness-based, what was behavioral, or what was what anymore. His children could no longer look toward their father for help or care; the positions had reversed.

We involved many, many professionals — from neurologists and a psych-pharmacologist to physical/occupational therapists and adult daycare facilities — in dealing with the issues at hand. There were many, including medication misuse, behavioral problems, speech issues, car accidents, hospitalizations and rehab due to injuries, cognitive impairment, and huge safety concerns. Our lives became crisis central and escalated to a degree that only we can truly understand. Very few people outside of our immediate circle of family and friends had any idea what we were all going through, and even then, most of it was learned secondhand. The man that we knew and loved deeply had become a stranger to us, and it broke our hearts.

I operated as a single parent for many years before I legally was. Throughout all of this, my children rose to challenges that I could never have anticipated they would ever face. They once had this amazing father, and although he is still alive, it’s not a role he has not been able to maintain for many, many years now.

We continue to grieve. No matter how much we love one another and appreciate what we have as a family, there is a still an empty chair at every special occasion, at every family dinner, and in every quiet moment together. More than anyone, I know how much he would have loved everything in our lives, and even when we are with him, he doesn’t really interact for the most part — I think we overwhelm him at times.

We also grieve profoundly for what’s happening and has happened in his life. We feel incredibly guilty although no matter how much any of us has tried to do, or can possibly do, it’s not enough. We can’t change things enough, nor could we ever — no matter how hard we tried. And believe me, I tried everything. I thought we were in it together, and if I tried terribly hard, I could make it right for him and make it work. I couldn’t.

He is in an advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease now, lives in a managed care facility and is believed to be afflicted with Lewy Body dementia as well. Although he has significant cognitive issues, it’s not like he isn’t aware of what’s going on. He knows and it’s a very hard life for him. Our two oldest children are now his legal guardians.

I used to be married to this man, and now… I’m not.

The man that I deeply loved is missing. Every now and then, a remnant of him surfaces. It might not be evident to anyone else, but I see it and I know him. And sometimes, he looks at me and he remembers, too.

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