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Focusing on The Things That Matter

As I get older, it’s easier to see that some of the things in life that I thought mattered really don’t matter that much at all.  Material things come and go, and you definitely can’t take them with you when this life is over.  Entertainment that we can get completely wrapped up in doesn’t really matter when life gets hard.  What matters are the relationships that are made along the way and how you treat the people that you love.

As a caregiver, you are supposed to be loving, thoughtful and supportive, but what if there have been bad times between you and the one you are trying to care for? How do you fix what really matters?

  1. Recognize that you may be wrong, and if you are not wrong, recognize that sometimes there are more important things than being right.  Not admitting when you are wrong can cause problems on many levels. Chances are that your loved one knows that you are wrong, so not admitting to your mistakes and maintaining that you are right will cause your loved one to distrust you.  As a caregiver, this could become a huge underlying problem. You need their trust regarding medications, therapy, and logistics.  As the one with COPD, a lack of trust can cause doubt regarding how the disease is actually affecting you, and it may become more difficult for your caregiver to listen to you.
  2. Be willing to ask for forgiveness.  This goes along with recognizing that you may be wrong.  The actual act of asking for forgiveness is not a display of weakness.  In fact, it portrays a strong character.  It shows that you are more concerned with integrity than how much what you may have done or said could embarrass or hurt you.
  3. Be willing to forgive.  It is actually more important to forgive than it is for the other person to ask for forgiveness.  You can forgive someone that never asks for forgiveness.  Forgiving someone does not mean that you automatically trust them with everything again, but it does mean that you recognize that they are human.  Forgiving others frees you of a lifetime of bitterness.
  4. Once you know there is a problem, don’t continually repeat what caused the friction.  If you continually repeat the offense, you are essentially saying that you did not mean any of the previous apologies.  You also are telling your loved one that you don’t care what they think because you feel like what you want is more important than how they feel about it.

Most of the time, I don’t think that any of our loved ones purposefully try to create friction. The majority of the time is actually unintentional and, for the most part, unknown to the one causing the problem. This is where communication plays an enormous role. If the one that is offending you has no idea that they are causing harm to the relationship, nothing will change except the growing friction. Talk to the other person. It is important that this conversation is civil and loving. If you are the one that needs to listen and change, it is important to remember that relationships are the things that matter in life, and doing what it takes to keep them healthy is worth more than gold.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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