If you have ever taken care of another human being, or another human being has depended on you, then you know what I’m writing about!
I am a care-giver. I have been a care-giver now for most of my life. As a nurse, practically right out of high school, I guess you could say, care-giving was my calling at the get-go. As I recall, I never really had to work hard on my empathy skills as much as I had to work hard- very hard, on not caring too much, or crossing that invisible patient-nurse barrier. In fact, that is one of the areas of care-giving coaching I may very well dwell on the most these days. Since what “self-preservation” boils down to, really, is that a care-giver must care for themselves first before they can endure caring for another person 24/7. Think about it.
I have heard the term “The Delta Principle.” Have you ever heard of that term? It refers to how a Delta flight attendant will instruct mothers of young children on an aircraft, at high altitudes might I remind you, that she should put the air mask on herself first before administering oxygen to her child. And so, by the same token, I remember being instructed as a young nurse that the patient is on the other side of that bed rail for one reason…
The patient (or a dependent loved one, in this case) needs you. Yep.
Your loved ones, if they depend on you, need you as a care-giver to remain strong and vigilant. You must endure. Day by day, hour by hour and simultaneously be able to live in such a way as to having a “normal life!” Please already! Rule #1 for care-givers: Do not set lofty expectations of self.
Let’s explore more about care-giving know-how later. For now, why not hug a care-giver, especially if the care-giver you know the best, is in fact, you!