When Other People Become Teachers

Robert Frost once quipped: "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

My eldest sister was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's nearly two years ago and it has brought us seven siblings closer together. Via Zoom or conference calls, emails and a special text thread, we try and help each other help Darlene as best we can.

But the diagnosis has also created its own challenges and lessons. For example, how much independence do you allow without the risk of an accident? Who monitors the medications and which sibling takes time off for the doctor visits?

In this and in other situations, I've learned that we are all so different- family members, closest friends, soul partners.... No matter how well meaning good intentions may be, there are always frustration points. We respond so differently to a variety of circumstances.

Rather than drive us crazy, maybe the lesson is to manage only what is ours to manage. Trying to change others, wanting our kids to behave this way, our neighbors not to act that way... our colleagues, friends, the government ... it's an endless battle of wills. Unless...

Unless you realize that you can control only what you can control.  

You see, other people can become teachers. Let me share what I've learned:

  1. Some people do seek advice (that's why I'm a Life Coach); most people, however, just want to be listened to

  2. People can live their lives however they want, with or without my permission 😏

  3. If I don't see the good in someone I am probably blinded by my own ego insisting that "my way is better"

  4. When someone--especially a loved one-- is being exasperating, to remind myself that they are probably not coping well with something... and to empathize with this

  5. Truly, to know how much I appreciate when others afford me this empathy when I'm difficult to deal with