“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” – Leonardo DaVinci
The quote above from Leonardo DaVinci provides a great code for people to follow to strengthen their hearts, especially those who selflessly serve in the caregiving role. Let’s dissect this code/quote to maximize its benefits for the mind, body, and soul.
“I love those who can smile in trouble…” I have encountered many caregivers and seriously ill loved ones who let out bright, gleaming smiles even through the most challenging of times. It is amazing to watch.
My mother, even during the most frightening and painful of experiences through her courageous battle with cancer, melted the hearts of those who had the privilege to support her with her warm, caring smile. I know that I get my smile from her and it continues to be a gateway for her spirit to those here on earth. In fact, one of my mother’s favorite songs was “When You’re Smiling” by Larry Shay, Mark Fisher, and Joe Goodwin. If I close my eyes, I can imagine her singing….
When you’re smiling, When you’re smiling, The whole world smiles with you. When you’re laughing, When you’re laughing, The sun comes shining through. But when you’re crying, You bring on the rain. So stop your sighing. Be happy again. Keep on smiling. Cause when you’re smiling. The whole world smiles with you.
People who are suffering from a debilitating disease or disability along with their caregivers show tremendous resilience and “…gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.” There are many times along the caregiving journey that one may feel that they do not have the ability to go on. It “…tis the business of little minds to shrink” in fear.
The key to gathering strength is to fully experience your emotions. Do not suppress your negative or uncomfortable emotions. Cry, scream, punch a pillow – let it out! When you release the negative feelings (anger, fear, despair) and share your concerns honestly with a coach, therapist, peer, or close confidant, you can reflect and realize you are brave enough and good enough for the challenge.
Forgive yourself for understandable imperfections. “…they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” Just accept that you are doing the best you can. After all, we can be our own harshest critics. This is the key to a strong heart and living a full life free from regret.