5,500-6,999 SparkPoints 5,923

Thinking my Way to Freedom

Friday, June 12, 2020

I have so much more control than I realize when it comes to managing life stressors. I always loved the Cognitive behavioral therapy self-help idea that changing your thoughts can change your feelings, but I realize actually applying this well is an ongoing process.

In trying to maintain a calm and pleasant relationship with my aging mother I read yet another book about dealing with challenging elderly parents and finally some of it clicked. I identified my biggest triggers. I learned I have to just let go completely of defending myself. At this stage in life she isn't going to change and it always escalates the situation. I must simply change my thoughts so I can change how I react and respond. I remind myself of how scared and vulnerable she feels having lost my dad and dealing with her own age related health issues. I need to let ago of unhelpful thoughts of "she never appreciates what I do." It should not matter if she complains about me to others. So many of my thoughts led to me feeling angry and burned out. Now I am learning to see her as feeling insecure, frightened and unhappy. I can be at peace with what I have done over the years to help out without her acknowledging it. Her words do not define my truth. I can simply reflect what she tells me, validate her feelings and change the subject. When I stop defending and do these things instead, it seems to de-escalate the situation.

My gratitude journal is another way I think my way to freedom. When I am feeling down or stressed, just changing my thoughts to all the good things in my life frees me from the negative feelings.

Part of thinking my way to freedom is nourishing my brain so it can think optimally. This is where eating a wide variety of whole foods comes in, especially vegetables. Exercise also helps keep me brain supporting my well being. I will continue to take care of my brain and focus on ways to think my way to freedom rather than becoming a prisoner to negative and distorted or at least unhelpful beliefs.

***This is another personal blogpost I may eventually take down.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This post is incredible! And thank you for sharing it with us. It really strikes a cord with me in the ways that you are taking care of yourself while finding ways to take care of someone else. I'm not one of those gushy people - but this really moved me this morning to think hard about a number of things. Thank you, thank you!
    51 days ago
  • SPICY23
    This is a beautiful post; a tribute to your maturity, compassion, and humanity. I took this approach with my folks and it got me through the worst. Unfortunately I had to process a fair amount of anger after my Dad passed due to wanting closure that just wasn't going to ever be possible. I am working now to focus on and acknowledge 'positive' memories of the good things they taught me. Your gratitude journal is doing that for you already. emoticon

    Peace and Care
    53 days ago
    I love how you have decided to just not react to some of the hurtful things your mother says. I had to do the same with my own mother. It was clear that she preferred my younger sister's company to mine I was the one who had to run all the errands, help her with her home, and take her to doctor's appointments. At first I felt very resentful but I had to find the strength inside myself to realize that she was my mother and I needed to do things for her. Once I took the personal feelings out of the equation things were a lot easier. You are very wise to figure out how to do the dame!
    58 days ago
    Wow, this is so powerful! It is difficult to do, I'm sure, but it is clearly working for you. Keep going!!

    58 days ago
    Looks like you got a good plan that's working for you. emoticon emoticon
    59 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon Sounds like you have turned a major corner. I found that putting myself into an 'observer mode' always helped in difficult situations even if some folks, including a certain psychologist, consider this as unwanted compartmentalization. Keep searching for answers and keep what works for you.
    59 days ago
    You are doing a good job; and wise to realize what will pull the trigger and worsen things. I am glad you are finding ways to strengthen yourself and finding peace ... Bless you.
    59 days ago
    Expectations. It's difficult to remember how much has changed mentally, when the outside remains the same. Expecting a rational conversation about...whatever...missing clothes, car keys, little things, big things...and it just doesn't happen. They now have feelings that are strange and different and it appears they don't know how to deal with them. That these are trying days is an understatement. Continue with the focus and self care. Freedom vs a negative prisoner...words to help with the dark days. Thanks for sharing!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    59 days ago
    Wow, you have really achieved some wisdom, my dear. Your new approach to your difficult mother is sure to make you both happier. It truly doesn't matter what others think (unless it puts you in danger). Your acts of sacrifice and service to your mother--those are between you and God (or your angels, or whatever you want to call it), and they matter, even if it seems she doesn't even notice your kindness. I only wish I'd achieved your level of wisdom before my mother died. I might not have been quite so bitter, and I might have been able to bring her comfort. Keep on doing what you're doing!
    59 days ago
    You have to take care of yourself before you can care for others. Self care is critical! Keep up the great work.
    59 days ago
    Have you been talking to my sister? I told her something similar: mom's never happy with what we do for her, so don't beat yourself up about things... Take care! You rock!
    59 days ago
    i love that you found a way to deescalate and can still see your mom, you see the why and even though you cant change it knowing the why and she does not define you is Huge hugs
    59 days ago
    YES YES YES! It absolutely escalates things if you try to change the elderly person's truth. Never works. Learned that w/my Mom. You are WISE. Definitely be taking the best care of YOU that is possible. That is a key, for sure.

    My dear, you are doing the best you can. I applaud you.
    59 days ago
    Keep discovering more about your beliefs systems, especially the not fully conscious ones. Also noted both the emotional and behavioral consequences.
    59 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.