You Can't Be Your Caree's Source of Happiness

Denise
Tonight, our call-in show aired; we talked about this question: What do you need a break from? You can listen to our show via the player below. (The show went really long because I couldn't stop talking tonight. Yikes!)

Jan (read her blog here) called in tonight and shared that she would like a break from her mom's resistance. She suggests activities and outings for her mom; to all suggestions, her mom says "No." Jan wants the best for her mom, which means enjoying the life she has. Her mom resists. It's a yucky spot to be in when you suggest and offer because you care and your suggestions and offers are refused.

As you can tell from her blogs and our shows (she joined me for Table Talk on Saturday), Jan is a very kind, very conscientious, lovely person. Any of us would be blessed to have Jan take care of us.

I thought about Jan's situation as I did the dishes after our show. And, then I remembered what my mentor, Mirca Liberti, would tell me: You can't make your caree happy. (Mirca founded an organization, Children of Aging Parents in 1989. She was one of the very first advocates for family caregivers.)

It seems like you could make your caree happy. Think how much you already do; I'm sure because of your efforts, you've already moved mountains. And, because you can move mountains, you should be able to make your caree happy.

Right?

That's the thing about happiness, which we learned earlier today. (See my post, "We Are the Source of our Happiness.") It's something we give ourselves. If we depend on others to make us happy, then we stay in a place of frustration.

It's the same with your caree. You can set the table, so to speak, for your caree to experience happiness. It's up to your caree, though, if she wants to sit at the table, if she wants to take what's served. And, the decision whether or not to partake is about her--not about us. It's not a rejection of us (although it can feel like that) or a judgment of us (it can feel like this, too). It's merely a choice and a choice that's right for her at that moment in time. When she can make a different choice, she will.

Here's the irony of happiness. We can't make another happy. But, we can share our happiness. Stay the amazing advocate you are for your caree. And, advocate on behalf of your happiness by focusing on it, letting it in. It may just rub off a little on your caree.

Thanks to everyone for listening to tonight's show and joining in the chat room. And, thanks so much to Jan for calling in tonight.


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