Unseen Sacrifices and the Importance of Acknowledging Our Feelings

I looked right into the eyes of a caregiver last week and saw a mirrored memory of my past. I saw a woman whose spirit had left her body, glassy eyed at the point of tears, distraught emotions coming through a computer screen even in her silence, and then I heard a voice on the brink of cracking.

ART - Unseen Sacrifices

It doesn’t matter whether you are a caregiver by choice, by default, or by profession; my guess is that all of you – most of you – have hit that point. It’s a point you were sure you’d never get to because you were finding ways to balance your life, or so you thought. Meanwhile, underneath was a ‘live’ gopher hole undermining your existence. You felt yourself crumbling under the right circumstances or among the group of people you could usually talk to. Yet you somehow managed to mask the real emotions that were happening.

I hesitate to say this is ‘normal,’ yet so many people have gone through/are going through this. (Admitting it is something else.) I’m not sure why we become unable to share what we’re really going through, but I know that I’m not the only one who has been there.

Here’s what I do know:

  • It is imperative to feel and to acknowledge those feelings whether by talking to yourself through writing, speaking with professionals, or joining groups of people with similar circumstances. It’s natural that being in this will evoke strong emotions and memories – memories of what was, what you thought would be, or how you felt the situation would turn out.
  • Permit those feelings to exist without judgment. Allow yourself to process your feelings. Be kind to yourself and recognize that you are witnessing yourself go through difficult times ~ no superhero cape draped on your shoulders. This is the time to treat yourself with the same compassion you give to others. Don’t muscle your way through the bad days – just accept that bad days happen to all of us.
  • This is the time to engage in something that will reset your energy. Reach out to someone you trust about the feelings you are experiencing. Engage in mindfulness practices, breathing, or grounding techniques to help reset your energy to the present moment. Do not stuff this down because it will come back and erupt, whether at someone else or, importantly, at yourself.

You can navigate these feelings healthily and constructively by processing your emotions and seeking support. Learn to set boundaries for yourself and honor yourself without judgment. Stop the dialogue of, “I should be able to…” and “They’ll think less of me because…” Focus instead on your well-being to help you regain a sense of stability.

You only have one life – don’t let it slip by with regrets.



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