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  • Writer's pictureCaring With Grace

Are you pushing against reality?

We all quarrel with reality from time to time and wish things were different than they are. Especially when life seems unfair. For instance, your mom, who has disabling arthritis, develops memory loss and now can do even less for herself. Or your brother's wife gets a promotion out of state, so he has to move and can no longer help with Dad.

While anger and resentment are completely natural responses, harboring such feelings does nothing to improve the situation. In fact, it perpetuates emotional suffering for you.

Although you can't change these events, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) posits that your self-talk—your internal "story" about them—is where you have options to ease the strain in your life.

Don't fight reality By "radically" and unconditionally accepting life as it is—on its own terms, with no blame, anger, or resentment—you can shed a layer of tumult. It's natural to think, "This shouldn't be happening!" Without acceptance of what is, however, you're in an endless and exhausting battle with reality, pushing the rock uphill when gravity clearly prefers it stay in the valley. Instead, try dropping any "shoulda, woulda coulda" thinking. Refocus your self-talk on the present, what is now and real.

Practice accepting self-talk

  • "I don't like this but it is the truth of my situation." "

  • I am (sad/mad/frustrated) about this … but it is not something I can change."

  • "I accept that my life (or situation X) is what it is."

It's not as hard as you might think We daily practice acceptance of little things, such as yielding to the fact of a traffic jam. And likely you have done it—eventually—for big things, too, like a breakup you may not have wanted.

When acceptance is not healthy

If you are in an abusive or unsafe situation, work toward change—not acceptance. Seek guidance from a counselor if you are uncertain.

Are you losing a battle with reality?

Sometimes things just are not fair. Especially when caring for a parent. Frustrating! As the north Texas experts in family caregiving, we at Caring With Grace are adept at finding solutions. Give us a call at (214) 789-6402. Let's start the conversation and see what we can do together.

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