March 14, 2015

The Facebook Confession every person should Read.

Last Saturday, sitting in an empty restaurant with a bad internet connection, I got off Skype with a client, getting ready to do what I had to do next.

I sat with my head in my hands for a moment, feeling guilty about the thoughts and emotions inside of me, before I wrote this Facebook post.

I thought about deleting it. I thought about just leaving it in my personal files and never letting it see the light of day, because, after all, the restaurant is in Costa Rica, the Skype session had gone well, and these emotions—well, they just seemed a little too selfish.

A voice in my head said, “Maybe people will think you’re not as loving as you pretend to be.”

That was my cue. That’s the voice of my inner perfectionist. Now, I had to share.

My fingers trembled as I pressed “Publish.” And I’m so glad I did. Since I shared it, this post went wild on my Facebook author page and in my private community.

I think we all feel what I felt that day, especially those of us who provide support to people—even when we do it by choice, even when it’s our work, and even when we love it. We try our best to give and give. We try our best to be kind. And still, we are only human.

I think this is something we all need to hear.

Confession: Every Saturday, after I have a session with a beloved client, I call my grandfather. He lives alone. My family is very broken apart and, through a series of terrible events, he’s wound up alone, not only physically, but emotionally. He does get food and all provided for him, but everyone dislikes him, and he only perpetuates that cycle by putting up this jagged personality to them. They say he started it. He says something different.

To me, he’s a different person. No one sees him like this. Have you ever had a kid or a dog that just lights up when they see your face? Well, that’s how he is to me. His voice just changes when he hears mine. He sounds like a man who’s just won the lottery. His joy when he hears it’s me on the other end is like the joy of a child.

Then, he tells me the same stories over. I think he’s got some brain damage from a previous stroke, because he retells things and he lies a lot.

I guess my confession is—I don’t always want to call. And, when I don’t, I feel guilty. I feel like I should want to call, want to be there for him, want to be, as he says, “his only joy in the world.” I’m trying to get everyone else in the family to see him in a different light, to invite him over, to be kinder, but it’s slow—grueling. Seems like everyone’s got something else to worry about.

But, right now, I’m going to call. And I’m going to spend that hour. Because, sometimes, love is hard. Sometimes, love isn’t exciting. With my client, I get so excited, because she grows every time, and then I take that excitement to my grandfather, and it withers as we speak, because it’s all the same. And then, I have to forgive myself for this loss of enthusiasm and release my guilt over it. I’m just a human being. I am not a martyr. I am just a human being trying to do the right thing.

Not just with my grandfather, but this work in general, sometimes supporting people is really hard. Sometimes, I’m going through my own things and I don’t share them and it builds up and I feel guilty for it building up. Other times, I’m a self-care superstar. Sometimes, I am not.

At the end of the day, I’m just learning this as I go, just like you are. And I hope that, if my confession has any value to you, it’s to say that it’s okay—it’s okay to be where you are.

I’ve learned that, no matter how far you get, new challenges arise. New ways of being thrown into self-judgment and guilt and shame will always be around.

What matters is how we respond. What matters is our choice to love. And, honestly, I’m starting to think that doing it when it’s hard is what makes us into better people. Because anyone can love when it’s easy. But it takes work to love others when it’s hard and love ourselves through not being the perfect caretaker.

It’s not easy, but it is worth it. And so is being honest about how human I really am.

I hope you will do the same ♥

Author: Vironika Tugaleva

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Jay Wennington/Unsplash 

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General Parks Jan 22, 2016 4:10pm

This is a nice reminder for my own reminders. I moved back 'home' (although I feel more at home somewhere else) to build something with my family while they're still around. It's hard, really hard. My family has never been open, and for the longest time as a result neither was I.

I don't know how to get people to talk or open up or do things when they don't want to or don't know how. But, I want to just be here and give them permission to do so to be more a part of my life. Because at the end of the day it's the people in your life that really matter.

Pat Nov 8, 2015 7:04pm

I apologize that this got posted twice. Don't know what happened!

Pat Nov 7, 2015 8:52am

Great post. It stirred so many emotions and thoughts in me that I'm going to need time to process them all. One is that when my mom was still living, she had dementia and became really hard to deal with. In addition to her confusion, she became very angry, and who would blame her? I'm pretty sure she knew that she was losing her memory, poor thing. But sometimes I lost my patience with her, like you described in this article, and to this day, I still feel awful about it. I would give anything to hold her in my arms again, even hear her spout angry tirades about stuff that made no sense. I adored her and miss her terribly. She was a beautiful person before dementia got a hold of her. But as you said, we're only human.

I've also had some major misunderstandings in the past few months with people who are very dear to me and it's been a struggle for me because even though we've discussed things, things don't seem to be resolved. I love how you said, "What matters is our choice to love.”

I agree 100%. What others choose to think and believe is not something we have control over, but I will continue to love the people in my life in spite of how difficult it is sometimes, and even when they don’t seem to love me back, (like your uncle) because I truly believe with all my heart that love is the answer. To everything.

You go on to say, “And, honestly, I’m starting to think that doing it when it’s hard is what makes us into better people. Because anyone can love when it’s easy. But it takes work to love others when it’s hard and love ourselves through not being the perfect caretaker."

Or the perfect parent or the perfect sibling or the perfect this or that. Loving myself however, is the most difficult of all. My Catholic upbringing contributed to my belief that everything is my fault and that I should be ashamed of myself—a difficult belief to let go of, but I’m trying.

Thanks for this great post. You made my day and gave me strength.

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Vironika Tugaleva

Like every human being, Vironika Tugaleva is an ever-changing mystery. At the time of writing this, she was a life coach, world traveler, and award-winning author of two books (The Love Mindset and The Art of Talking to Yourself). She spent her days writing, dancing, singing, running, doing yoga, going on adventures, and having long conversations. But that was then. Who knows what she’s doing now? Keep up at www.vironika.org.