This I Believe

Alfreda - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on December 6, 2006
Age Group: 65+

I believe a change in thought process can also alter feelings and cause a person to view a situation differently. For example, I recently had an occasion to adopt the above method. My daughter abruptly moved fifty miles away from where I live. She previously had an apartment with my granddaughter fourteen miles from me.

The circumstances became very different for my daughter, my grandaughter, and myself. My daughter and I shared responsibility for my grandaughter. However, the role as major caregiver to a support person shifted suddenly. An aunt and uncle assumed many of the activities I was doing. As a result I had to adjust my schedule and perception of where I fit into their lives. This resulted in moments of frustration, anger and confusion. However, when I reviewed the events, everything seemed to be positive but I continued to have negative feelings. If I had a prescription for the situation, I could fill in the blanks with the aunt’s and uncle’s names.. They can provide security and structure which had been lacking. However, I didn’t feel the exuberance which I was expecting and I decided I needed to examine what I believed to be true..

Upon reflection I noted what I thought about the situation. One, I do not like abrupt changes. Two, I had plans and they were obliterated. And three, I was anxious for their future but we were doing alright. When I altered my thinking to: One, I don’t like change, but this needed to occur and I can adjust. Two, plans can be revised to create something better. And three, we were not doing all right. There were many gaps and problems which this move could effect positively.

After reviewing these alternatives, my feeling began to change from initial anger to gratitude. This was a gradual process. I can anticipate my new role with less responsibility and anxiety about my daughter and granddaughter’s future as the aunt and uncle have more resources to provide for them. I will continue to have a relationship with all of them — maybe better without the pressure of my previous role. Consequently, my outlook is improving daily and I can see more and more bnefits to the change of circumstances. As a result my thoughts and feelings are no longer disconnected but balanced through this simple exercise.