Choose to Refuse

Caregiver chooses to control her attitude by refusing to be controlled by others. As a caregiver, learning how to control your attitude toward the challenges of caring for those who cannot care for themselves takes energy, effort and practice. I was reminded of this when I saw a plaque in our former priest’s office that declared, “I refuse to gratify the devil by becoming discouraged.”

I love the word “refuse”. It’s so powerful! It also makes me think of my 3-year old granddaughter Leah and my 88-year-old Aunt Jean. When Leah doesn’t want to do something, she plops herself down on the floor, crosses her legs and arms, sticks out her lower lip and refuses to budge.

My Aunt Jean knocked my socks off last spring when I took her to an eye surgeon’s office for a pre-op appointment. She read the Liability Release Form, handed it back to the office manager, and said. “I’m not signing this. If the doctor isn’t willing to stand behind his work and guarantee that I’m not going to die or have serious complications, I will not his form, and I refuse to let him take a knife to my eyes!”

Being a caregiver gives you amazing opportunities to hone your negotiating skills. Dealing with someone who is elderly, suffering with a dementia-related illness or is just plain stubborn can wear you down.

However, regardless of how defiant or uncooperative our care receiver becomes, and regardless of the multitude of things we encounter on a regular basis over which we have no control, we always have the power to choose how we respond to any situation. We also have the power to refuse.

Here’s my “Refuse” list:

1. I refuse to focus on the things that are wrong in my life rather than all of the things that are right.

2. I refuse to spend time with people who are negative, mean spirited or small minded.

3. I refuse to put any age restrictions on what I can still learn and accomplish.

4. I refuse to think that just because I’m just one person I can’t make a difference.

5. I refuse to believe I’m not strong enough to face whatever challenges lie ahead.

6. I refuse to give any person, thing or event the power to wreck my life.

If you do something that helps you control your attitude in trying situations, or if you think of something that should be added to the “List of Things I Choose to Refuse” please share it with me. I always love hearing from you!

You might also want to listen to a chapter from my book, “Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a caregiver. Here’s the link: Chapter 11 – Choose Our Thoughts