Today I am grateful for nature! Have a wonderful Wordless Wednesday!
It is either already or almost Thursday in much of the world so instead of Wordless Wednesday I share this post inspired by Breathe In Now « Try Defying Gravity.
Mistakes Made, Opportunities Missed and Guilt
I still cry sometimes over all the mistakes made and the opportunities missed. I think it is a common parental condition that comes with the autism spectrum diagnosis. I usually try to avoid talking about it publicly because I know my daughter hates to see me cry, not because she does not care, but because she cares too much. The diagnosis does not bring the tears in my case, the guilt does. All the years we failed to understand her and caused her life to be more of a struggle than it should have been bring tears.
Opportunities Missed: More Understanding, More Family Time, and More Travel
There are buckets of tears for opportunities that we missed, not for more therapy, but for more understanding, for more family time including travel that included consideration of her sensory sensitivities. The tears flow over the visits to Georgia never taken to visit my family after disastrous travel experiences due to our lack of understanding of transitional and sensory difficulties. I flew to Dad’s funeral alone when she was fourteen months old for this reason and to Mom’s bedside as she lay dying, alone again, for the same reason. I cry for all the times I failed to adequately explain to family and friends how much I wanted to be there and why I could not.
Others’ Lack of Understanding and Condemnation Including Doctors
Rivers of tears fall when I remember all the times I failed to protect her from others’ lack of understanding and from their condemnation of her and us. I cry for all the years we allowed doctors to treat her like a lab rat instead of a child with a big heart. I cry for the years we treated her differences like they are something to be ashamed of when they are not.
Seeing Her Heart
More tears for every time people have let her down and I have failed to call them on it. Many still do not see the heart of my delightful child who is now a wonderful teenager, soon to spread her wings as she blossoms into an exceptional young woman. I cry because I cannot get all those wasted opportunities back.
The best I can do is cherish the time we have today and hope and pray for more joy in her life in all of her tomorrows. I encourage her as she shares her story, and I work to educate others so other little girls and their families benefit from our mistakes. I work on forgiving myself and others, as I hope and pray for a future where acceptance and kindness are the norm regardless of people’s differences. I also pray everyday asking God to send his angels to watch over my family and to help heal the world. I am grateful for the Delightfully Different Life I get to share and for the opportunity to educate others.
The final steps to forgiveness from Dr. Luskin’s book Forgive for Good begin with recognizing what he calls the unenforceable rules of wishes and hopes. This is what I fail victim to recently when I got upset about something that was out of my control.
Sometimes we have to accept that the goal we set will not be reached in the way we envisioned. That does not mean our goal is bad, it just means that we do not always have control over every situation.
Chosing Alternate Goals or Routes
We can make a decision to alter our goal or go a different direction when this happens rather than stewing over our disappointment and anger and allowing it to eat us alive. This may mean severing a relationship or it may mean looking at it from a different view and adapting our plan, but either way the point is to get unstuck so we can move on with our lives.
Instead of demanding others comply with our demands, we have to change our thinking to hoping our wishes come true and working to make this happen while realizing there will always be road blocks in life. Some we can go around, others we must go over or even under, sometimes we must turn around and regroup or walk or even run away. On a rare occasion maybe it is even okay to plow through the road block. However, first we must carefully weigh the danger and determine if it is safe or at least worth the risk. We must put aside our anger to make the best decision.
Refocus on Positive Intention
We need to turn the focus back to our positive intention and find another way to make that intention our destiny. I believe that our true purpose in life is to learn from our mistakes. Dr. Luskin states, “The person or event that hurt us is important insofar as we can learn from the situation. In no way, though, do we allow our grievance to distract us from our goal.”
He goes on to say what so many of us heard growing up. Our greatest revenge on someone who hurt us is to move on and find peace. He explains how to find your intention if you are unsure of what your intention is.
The Last Step: HEAL
The last step to forgiveness is HEAL.
- H is for hope. Hope for understanding.
- E is for educate. Educate yourself that you will experience disappointments.
- A is for affirm. Affirm your positive intention.
- L is for Long-term commitment. This is your long-term commitment to your well-being by doing whatever it takes to help you move forward.
I choose to educate others to help them avoid the same mistakes as part of my long-term commitment to heal from the mistakes I made when I did not understand my daughter. Your long-term commitment may involve assertiveness training, counseling, stress management or something else. Near the end of the book Dr. Luskin also discusses ways to forgive yourself. Like me you may have to go back to some of these steps at times when someone unexpectedly pushes your buttons and you find yourself once again needing to forgive yourself and/ or others.
I am grateful for the reminders throughout this book that I can regroup and go back to the stages when I falter in my forgiveness journey. I am grateful for all of the angels on Earth and in heaven who help me with this and I am grateful to those of you who share this journey.