Let’s pretend that you just checked your blood sugar and “264” showed up. What is your immediate thought? To get the full effect of this post, please take a few moments and write down some of the thoughts that run through your head.
I’ve done this exercise with numerous folks with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), and I often hear things like, “I can’t believe I ate that third cookie! I have no self-control!” or “How can I still be so bad at this? I’m such a failure!” (and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had those same thoughts myself).
As humans, and especially as women, most of us employ one of two tactics to achieve a goal. The first method, criticism, is demonstrated above. So many of us believe that if we beat ourselves up badly enough, we’ll change. I don’t need a master’s in psychology to tell you (and you certainly don’t need one to know) that if that one worked, we’d all be perfect by now.
The second way to work towards a goal is with compassion—you know, the way you talk to your best friend (though in all honesty, most of us wouldn’t even talk to someone we actively disliked the way we talk to ourselves). Let’s say your goal was to lower your A1C by your next doctor’s visit, and you’ve done it! Whether you employed criticism or compassion to reach your goal, it’s true that you’ve achieved the same physical result.
The “but” here (and it’s a big one) is that if you used self-compassion, you didn’t just change your metabolic state. By speaking kindly to yourself, you will also have facilitated an emotional transformation, resulting in a WHOLE NEW YOU. Not only will you be healthier both physically and psychologically, but everyone around you will benefit from being in a relationship with someone who is less judgmental and more loving.
Kinda like how your mom’s cookies are so much better than the store-bought ones. Why? Because she made them with love. When you do something with love, the difference is palpable (and often less crumbly).
So the next time you start in on a tirade against yourself, think of what you would say to a fellow Diabetes Sister (and how you would say it!) if she were struggling. Point out her commitment, her dedication, the fact that she is human, and all the great stuff she does to take care of herself!