Sometimes even people that you love can be your harshest critics. When it comes to caregiving, people don’t know what you’re up against if they’re not right there in the trenches with you. But responding to that criticism can be difficult when your feelings are hurt.
Smiling does a few things for you right away. First, you’re going to feel automatically a little bit more relaxed because the muscles involved in smiling send happy messages to your brain. Second of all, you’re going to defuse the situation a little bit and hopefully make the conversation a little friendlier. It’s more difficult to lob back a harsh reply when you’re smiling.
Politely Remind Them to Mind Their Own Business
That said, unless the person criticizing you harshly is as involved in your elderly loved one’s care as you are, you might want to politely remind them that you’ve got this. Some people don’t realize how the things that they say actually sound to the other person. Letting your criticizer know that the statement landed badly without being harsh yourself is a good start.
Surround Yourself with Positivity
Whenever you can, surround yourself with positive people and positive messaging. If there are specific people who are extremely critical of you, do what you can to limit your encounters with them. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have people around you who support you rather than tear you down.
Get Away from Caregiving Now and Again to Recharge
If you’re not already making it a point to take time away from caregiving, you need to start right away. It can help you to be in a more calm state of mind when you get these kinds of criticisms but it can also allow you to just be for a little while. You might want to consider hiring elderly care providers or even asking some of your harsher critics if they’d like to be in charge for the afternoon.
Even if the people criticizing you are family members of your elderly loved one, you don’t have to sit back and let them walk all over you. Stand up for yourself in a loving way.