I recently participated in a Masters in Autism training course. I always enjoy hearing from passionate and positive people who believe in happiness, love, and acceptance. During the class, one of my favorite teachers, stated "stop chasing the should". This phrase hit me hard. As a parent it is so easy to consistently judge ourselves. We never feel "good enough" or that we are doing "enough" for our children. Even when we spend a full day enjoying our time with our kid(s), giving them lots of attention, doing something they love to do, etc. we often allow our thoughts of "we should do this more often", "I should be giving this much of my time to my child(ren) all the time" to enter our heads. As caregivers we go to the "never enough" thought process all the time.
As a special needs mom, I have often struggled with the what "should" Griffin be doing. Professionals are constantly comparing our child to those at the same age, grade, etc. and reminding us of what our special child isn't doing. Our society goes to the "what isn't happening" "what we are not doing" or the "where we are lacking" mindset. And this in turn drives the idea of "CHASING THE SHOULD".
I believe that people who are always chasing the "should" think that if they accept the present then things won't change. This is one of the most untrue things in our lives. We can have hope for the future for ourselves and our child and still be happy in the present. By showcasing our love and joy with our child we are helping build that relationship, decreasing anxiety, and living in a more happy state.
It is easy for autism parents to believe that life would be better if our child didn't have autism. However life is a journey whether autism exists in it or not. There is always "something" that we as humans are dealing with. What if we choose to live in the present and love the journey versus the pessimism that we get from chasing the should.
Life is full of moments. If we are always looking to the future then we continuously miss the present. This is the way most of us function, always looking to what we have to do next. To take care of ourselves and our child we must be present with them today.
What thoughts can you change in your life that allow you to be more present and to stop "chasing the should"?
I would love to hear your comments.
Let's all be a little more loving, a little more present, and inevitably we will be a lot more happy.
Love to you all,
The Griffin Promise