7 Things I’ve Learned Since I Have A Special Child
So, it’s already happened. You are a special parent, and it is your reality now. This is a pretty challenging situation.
This makes me think that many special parents find themselves in a “taught and hard to handle position.” I was one of them. I didn’t know what hit me and how to find joy in my life, giving the fact that my child is “broken,” and we suffer together.
But some parents managed to get out of their victim role. They thrive and transform their lives completely. I belong to that group now.
I now know that sometimes it is very needed to find yourself in a challenging situation to learn how to live better. Because words don’t teach, but experience does.
Some of the most exceptional people today (from whom I learn a lot): Anita Moorjani, Joe Dispenza, Wayne Dyer, Oprah, Laura M Seiler, Cathy Heller, Neale Donald Walsh, Dr. Shefali, Byron Katie, and many others, have once hit bottom. They all lived something traumatic and painful. Almost every one of them wrote a book where they tell what that moment, that event, that experience that hurt them and they’ve suffered was.
But that thing also became a trigger for them to change their lives completely for the better. Every one of them says how their biggest suffering turned out to be their biggest blessing.
Now I am asking you, can you relate to this? Did you recognize this painful moment as a wake-up call? What changes have you implemented in your life so far? Do you truly believe that you are worthy of a better life?
You are already where you are. This challenge is not insignificant. Maybe you didn’t even notice, but something must have changed in the way you think and prioritize things. Make a list just to see what changed and if there is something you would want to work on.
Maybe it’s time to finally pursue your dream job. Or to work on the relationship with your partner, family or friends. Are you continuing to be dependent on other people’s opinions?
Martha Beck interestingly explains this in her book, “Finding your north star.” She says that most people have luck of self-confidence to make major changes in their lives. They are afraid to say they want to start their own bakery business or admit that they want to get rich. They are so scared to end a toxic relationship or become a +50 model because of what “everybody” would say. Martha has an exercise she is doing with her clients, to write down on paper who these “Everybody” is? Most of her clients can number two to three people maximum😊.
Analyse whether the choices you are making are affected by others’ influence and whether the fear of what other people would think is holding you back on accomplishing something you want.
I’ve said many times before, that I was unhappy and sad at the beginning of this special journey and didn’t know how to accept it. That lasted almost four years. I guess I had enough at one point, and I decided to listen to some advice and to try to deliberately create and consciously live my life.
That’s a decision that paid off tremendously because today I am very grateful and happy, and I understand that Joana’s condition can’t be my excuse for being miserable. I’ve learned a lot on the way.
I am going to count down the changes that I implemented in my life, and the things I’ve learned:
1. Move to another country (I learned I have the strength and abilities to do that)
When Joana was one year old, we’ve moved from Macedonia to Germany. It wasn’t easy, but it was totally worth it. We started a new life here and got everything we wanted for Joana and more. We learned the language that sounded totally strange at the beginning. Looking back, when moving to Germany was just an idea, until today, I can see how flexible, organized, and determined I’ve become.
I also become more open minded and ready to consider new ideas or different opinions. Being in a multicultural society like in West Germany helped me be more understanding and compassionate. So, these were some of the first changes since Joana was born. A very learning experience.
2. Understanding that suffering is optional.
I read somewhere that pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice. It is optional whether you are going to think that this is a tragedy, and your life is over and why me?
And it is also optional if instead, you think “I have faith. This is an opportunity to learn unconditional love.
This is an opportunity to see who I am and what I can do. And this is definitely the perfect opportunity for me to see what is the most significant thing I can do in this situation”.
You can think that your child is sad and feels punished for its disabilities, but you can also see how happy the child is and how little it requires. Just love, support and warmth.
If you suffer over your child’s mental and physical challenges, I understand. It’s natural to be shaken at the beginning. I am just saying that there is an option to get out of guilt, sadness, anger, frustration, and live a happy life. Personal development and self-honesty are the keys.
I learned this in my personal example.
If you struggle to accept the fact that your child is special or have any struggle at all in your life, I recommend the book “Man search for meaning” from Victor Frankl. Omg, what a story this man had… Find it, read it, and you will never look at things with the same eyes again.
I am not talking about responsibility like pay your bills, drive safely, take care of yourself and the environment, and don’t commit a crime. I am talking about being responsible for the choices you are making and whether you live a happy life or not, as a result of those choices.
I’ve become more responsible and aware that in every situation, I have a choice. In fact, everything I am today is a sum of the choices I’ve made. It’s a hard pill to swallow for many people that they are creators of their own destiny. It seems to be more tempting to have excuses and think that someone else from the outside is doing something to them.
Or they say, “I was pushed against the wall, and I had to do that.” It is a dramatic way of explaining and justifying the things we are doing. Certainly, some situations feel like we are pushed against the wall, and there is no other way out. But the truth is that we react mostly by habit. People committed to personal development know that there is always another way to do, to say, to act, and to accomplish something. Always.
That’s why you have people blaming their parents, their country, and the politicians, their spouses, their children, and God about all the problems they have. Everyone around them is guilty of something, but them. I learned to take my own responsibility and do my best on every occasion, even if I don’t know it all. I learned to ask myself: what was my reaction to today’s challenge? Is there anything I can do to fix it or make it better? Was I nice and polite in all of my communications today?
Everything’s got to do with what input do we give to the world.
I learned to take responsibility that everything that is happening to me, good or bad, has to do with me and not the other person. Other people and events are just our mirrors.
I am making sure that I choose well how to spend my free and my working time. With who do I communicate? Do I take enough action? Am I open minded and willing to learn new things?
We are what we are as a result of the choices we make.
4. Other people and other people opinion
On this journey with my beautiful Joana, I’ve learned that other people are unimportant for my story. I am a natural people pleaser, and I used to do many things I wasn’t completely comfortable doing. I’ve learned better now, and this is my message to you: Others’ opinions are just other people’s opinions. It doesn’t define you, and it doesn’t say who you are. But it says everything about the other person.
It Is also useful to know that everyone thinks that is doing the best they can. If sometimes you get offended, think that maybe it wasn’t the intention of the person that caused that.
I heard something very smart once that even the worse man you know has friends who like him. On the other hand, the person you consider to be the best man in the world is criticized and not liked by someone else.
Everyone operates from their point of view, their system of values, and their way of thinking.
That’s why there is no point in trying to be liked by everyone. It is impossible. Be who you are and enjoy life the best you can without trying to please everybody. Also, try to say “no” from time to time. It feels great😊.
5. Selfcare and creating enough me-time
I also learned that this is very important. Special parents tend to put themselves last and not take good care of themselves. It’s natural that we want to provide for our children as much as possible: attention, love, health care, finances, etc. But if we don’t recharge our batteries from time to time, soon we won’t have anything to give. What more can you squeeze from an empty orange, right?
So, please think about yourself and create a me-time. Create it. No one has time for almost anything. No time for reading, no time for learning new things, no time for meditating, no time for a hobby, no time for hanging out with friends, and so on.
Then, just make time. Put it in your schedule, and treat it like an important meeting. Because it sure is.
Don’t worry that it is like you are punishing your child from being away for a while. You are not. You are doing this for both of you.
6. A new language and reorganizing my life in a foreign country
That is also something I learned on my special journey—a new language, a new culture, and adapting to a foreign country.
This is the best decision we’ve made-ever. At the beginning, we couldn’t even say “Guten Tag,” but slowly, we’ve learned the language eventually. It brought us so many adventures, new friends, and possibilities. It was a very needed change in our lives. You can read more about this in Our story.
7. My true calling
I found out what it is that I truly want to work. And that has nothing to do with banks and finances like before. My true calling is to be here for special parents. I learned from my personal experience that in every single life situation, I can be happy. I learned that it is a matter of choice how am I going to feel. Do I choose suffering or thriving?
After tasting sadness, anger, fear, and despair, I felt that it has to be more. It is not possible to live with all these negative emotions for the rest of my life.
So, I was looking for teachers, books, people who did it, and listened and read and explored. And at one point, I said: “Enough already. It’s enough. I don’t want to feel this sad anymore. I am going to try some of these methods”. And slowly but surely, I did it. I’ve become so happy, relaxed, grateful, and joyful that it was obvious how positively it influences Joana. I took responsibility for what I think, how I react, what people are surrounding me, and what actions I take.
It took me almost a year to transform my life to get rid of some toxic negative beliefs that were holding me back. Once I did it, the change was obvious, and the people who knew me started to ask me what I was doing, and do I have some advice for them.
I have advice to all of you:
- Whenever it feels like you are stacked, nothing changes for the better.
- You can’t get to where you want to be. –
- It is always because of your limiting believes.
The sooner you realize this, the better.
You can change everything you don’t like in your life when you change your limiting believes. And you should always try to make improvements to yourself. If you wait for the people around you to change, you may wait forever. But instead, if you make improvements at your personality, your potential of understanding others and being compassionate, your communication skills, you may witness how the things in your life are moving for the better before you know it.
Every change starts with you. If you don’t change – nothing around you will.
I am so grateful and blessed for the opportunity to be a coach for special parents. There is nothing more rewarding to me from when I help a client to transform their life.
You can book a free session with me here, and found out what I can do for you.
I know many people who manage to turn their challenge into an opportunity, and as a result, they now live happy and fulfilled lives.
One of them is such an inspiration. Her name is Anita, and she is a mother of two beautiful sons, one of them with cerebral paralyzes. She decided to be positive, take the best from life, and show others that everyone can do it. Her passion is cooking, and she is sharing her recipes with the world. She also organizes workshops for special parents where they can all meet and support one another. And she is a fearless and persistent activist for the inclusion of people with disabilities into the society after they finish school.
Another amazing and inspiring woman I know decided that having a child with a disability will not define her. Her name is Ivona, and since she is on a personal development journey, she became so amazing and extraordinary in her job. She is super successful, and she proves that everyone can be happy no matter their life circumstances.
You can find their testimonials here.
Use your challenges. They are here for a reason and to teach you something.
What have you learned from your challenges so far?