Just throw the word prison around and people conjure up thoughts of incarcerated criminals – everything from drug offenders to murderers to schemers who may have stolen grandpa’s life savings and blew it at the casino. That is one kind of prison but not the only kind.
For more than twenty, (20) years I have worked with some of the best providers of care. From assisted living to adult day care to home health care and many of them have been among the most committed, sensitive and people oriented caregivers you will ever meet. At the same time some were fighting to manage memories of mistakes made in their past.
Often the torture of this is not felt daily. Many of them were not walking around in piles of self-hatred frozen in time and unable to carry out the tasks of daily life. They bathed, ate, spent time with friends and family, made bank deposits and more in a well-established life routine.
How these bad memories impacted them was in the decisions they made. Many made horrible decisions in the selection of romantic acquaintances and often did not stand up when they should have when dealing with families of those they cared for when they knew they were right. Why?
The burden of the emotional prison has so negatively affected their own self-value that standing up even when assured they are right is a painful process that takes more courage and discernment than they could muster. The result, one bad decision after another, even some that impacted the quality of their business operations because their lack of self-value stood in the way of policing poorly performing employees. Some even find it difficult to make independent decisions because the reflection on past issues makes it tough to rely upon their own judgment.
Who knows what past memories may have been causing some of their grief. Some could have been previous law-breakers or simply came from non-nurturing environments and were not taught the value of self-appreciation. Soon the results of living in that emotional prison scar the person’s very existence and stands in the way of long-term life-progress. From the wrong friendships to poor business management their life spirals into a meaningless chorus of mediocrity.
We can all avoid this by remembering a few things:
- Love of people likely brought you to the care business. But make sure you love yourself first in order to be effective.
- Today in your life need not be defined by the you of yesterday as long as you are a different person.
- Looking back only has value if it provides valuable lessons for ongoing self-improvement.
- You will never be defined more than by the people you choose to be close to. How many nuts are in your life?
- We can all get better everyday and it starts with a commitment to accomplishing that.
We need prisons to shield society from dangerous people. We do not need emotional prisons which can only shield us from what true happiness is in the fulfilling world of care.
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