Let’s be honest – caring can be a tiring and challenging business! Coping with the physical and mental health difficulties, frustrations, and confusion many clients may feel, while remaining empathic, professional, and thorough can sometimes be a tall order.
While taking a deep breath and counting to ten, or phoning a friend are both great coping strategies, sometimes it can be worth acknowledging that caring is universal. At some point in almost every human being’s life, deep resources of empathy and courage will be called upon.
Reading some of the thoughts and experiences of other carers can be both inspirational and revealing. In this post, we’ll round up ten of the best quotes on caring, coping and carrying on.
1. “A smile is a light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” - Denis Waitley
Dr Denis Waitley, inspirational speaker, psychologist, and best-selling author, certainly knows how to win friends and influence people. In his metaphor of a light in the window, Waitley captures that feeling of “coming home” that a familiar smile can generate. Science has shown that smiles help the smiler too – smiles send a trigger to the brain to produce endorphins – happiness hormones – creating a positive feedback loop.
2. “To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” -Unknown
Although the creator of this simple thought might be anonymous, their lesson is the very opposite of anonymity. To a client, your daily or weekly intervention might make all the difference, though it may at times feel run of the mill to you. It can be a useful boost to remember how important you are in the lives of others.
3. “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” - Kurt Vonnegut
A great American writer, public speaker, and humourist, Vonnegut’s deep humanity and humanism shone through all his works. Here he stresses that there is no greater purpose than to care, even when to do so seems futile.
4. “There are only four kinds of people in the world: Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” - Rosalyn Carter
In some ways, it’s an obvious thought, but the former United States First Lady’s quote bears repeating – caring or being cared for is both universal and inevitable. The very ubiquity of interpersonal need makes caregiving invaluable.
5. “God gave burdens; he also gave shoulders.” Yiddish Proverb
Whether you are religious or not, it’s sometimes useful to remember just how much you are capable of, as well as that there is great nobility in struggling on. That said, when your own resources aren’t enough , it’s also okay to ask for help and advice.
6. “Doctors diagnose, nurses heal, and caregivers make sense of it all.” - Brett H. Lewis
The author of Family Caregiving is careful to clarify the real role that caregivers play, as a accessible provider of comfort and understanding. It’s important to remember the limits of your position, as well as the huge value it conveys.
7. “Offering care means being a companion, not a superior. It doesn’t matter whether the person we are caring for is experiencing cancer, the flu, dementia, or grief. If you are a doctor or surgeon, your expertise and knowledge come from a superior position. But when our role is to be providers of care, we should be there as equals.” - Judy Cornish
Rehabilitation specialist, lawyer, and author Judy Cornish is uniquely placed to understand the necessary humility of the caregiver role. In 2010 she formed the Dementia and Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network and developed a method for helping the sufferers of those conditions and their carers cope with emotional distress.
8. “Caregiving is a constant learning experience.” - Vivian Frazier
It’s a simple thought but perhaps one often overlooked. The people we care from have much to teach us, particularly if they have lived long lives. Listening is a vital component of caregiving, even when it is hard to comprehend what’s being said. The impulse towards understanding is always a noble one.
9. “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” - Matty Mullins
This pearl of deep wisdom comes from an unlikely source – not a philosopher or a professional life coach, but a young American Christian metal musician and lead singer of the Nashville band Memphis May Fire. Nevertheless, it’s useful to bear his insight in mind, for anyone trying to be the best at their profession, whether it is caregiving or creating an (un)holy racket!
10. “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” -Dalai Lama.
As well as being the spiritual leader of a people in exile, as well as an icon of caring, the Dalai Lama has a keen sense of humour. His point is well-made, however. In the life of the person being cared for, you can be truly heroic, making an incalculable difference. This is worth bearing in mind during times of difficulty.
We hope the motivation presented above makes it clear that caregiving is little short of heroic and you should be generous with yourself when assessing the impact you are making.