I hurt myself getting ready for mom’s last birthday party. And I don’t mean my feet and my knees. Yes, they suffered, but what suffered most was my heart because I couldn’t stop comparing myself.
- Mom wouldn’t be belly-aching.
- What’s wrong with you? Mom would stand hours to do things for us!
We can’t completely stop comparing, because it’s human nature. And comparisons aren’t categorically bad. We use comparisons to understand ourselves and the world we live in, to catalogue, distinguish, set goals. But comparisons can easily be misused and harmful.
I was beating myself up (I’m not as much as mom). Maybe because I was pretty darn sure this was mom’s last hurrah, and it was. Maybe because I wasn’t sure if she would even enjoy a party. She did, by the way.
In caring for Alzheimer’s patients, family caregivers can get sucked into negative comparison cycles, even in support groups. Use comparisons constructively, not as blunt weapons to bludgeon your confidence and heart. Someone might handle a similar situation differently, maybe even better, than you did. Congratulate them. And remind yourself, you are doing the best you can with the emotional, financial, and physical resources you have in this moment.
I’m glad I wrote about how I beat myself up, because it’s a reminder to be kinder to myself and to stop comparing with a heart of impatience, fear, and disappointment.
©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023.