Friday, July 1, 2016

Nothing Compares to You

Good Afternoon!

Back in the 80's there was a song called "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor.  But this post has absolutely nothing to do that!

What I do want to discuss is how important it is NOT to compare yourself with other families. 

I have completely been there.  I've looked at other families and wanted to slap them just for being able to be "normal".  I wanted to know what it felt like to be able to do something without planning every single detail.  In fact I wanted to know what it would be like to do a lot of things.  As I am all in favor of owning your feelings I'm not suggesting that this is somehow wrong, but rather that there are other things to consider when you do feel this way:

1. That "normal" family has problems too.  When you talk to other families you hear how many are touched by special needs, cancers, Alzheimer's, and so many other challenges. There is a saying that if everyone threw their troubles into the center of the room most people would take theirs back again.  We never know until we walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

2.  You have to stick with what you do well.  There were certain places and things that we knew we could manage reasonably well.  Or there were slight modifications that we could make to increase our success with certain things.  We stuck to these strategies to make our experiences feel more typical.

3.  The truth is the have a different situation.  Trying to force your family to be more normal is a waste of time and energy that will lead to more frustration and futility. 

4.  You have limitations but you CAN do things!  There are so many places that can accommodate special needs families.  For some families the beach provides a great escape, for some it might be a mountain cabin, or using an RV.  Find what you can do and expand upon it.

5.  Don't become obsessed with what you CAN'T do.  I was somewhat guilty of this and it started to affect me negatively.  You can become discouraged which will make you want to do even less than you were doing before.  Just understand the line between processing these feelings and obsessing over them.

We have all been created as very unique creatures.  It is the things that make us different that make us so special.  Embrace that you are special and resist the urge to compare yourself with someone else.  After all, they may be looking at you and thinking the same thing.

Be well and God Bless.  Tom 

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