No more punishment

Guilt and self-blaming is a theme running rampant among diabetics who do their best to manage their condition and be healthy. It’s hard to ignore, and something that leads to burnout and lack of motivation more quickly than anything else.

Rule #1: Perfection doesn’t exist, so don’t punish yourself for not being perfect even when you strive for it.

Rule #2: We can’t control everything. Sometimes things don’t work out despite having done everything right, that’s life. What matters is how you deal with it. (Kobayashi Maru anyone?)

Rule #3: What matters is that you’re doing your best. It’s unfair to demand more than 100% from yourself.

I admit, some days it’s difficult not to blame myself for poor food choices or lack of exercise. But in the end I also have to remind myself that diabetes doesn’t take a break, and that it’s humanly impossible to manage it tirelessly 24/7 without breaks. Sometimes you just have to breathe and forgive yourself for not being on top of it all the time. Sometimes you have to accept that your values are what they are, and you can only move forward and continue doing your best to manage them. If you can’t undo something that’s already been done, what good will fussing over it do? I’ve never had a bad situation get better because I told myself I’d gone and fucked up, shame on me, how could I have done that – and it’s never going to happen either.

Yes, it’s rough. Yes, we have to be diligent about it. Yes, sometimes we get frustrated. That’s okay, we’re allowed to feel that. The only thing you can do is be kind to yourself about it. Acknowledge your frustration, look back at what you’ve logged and find out how to do better. Can’t do any better? Then do it differently and see if that gets you anywhere. Sometimes we have to change lanes to get to the right place.

My point is, if you’re working hard on managing your diabetes and you’re trying your best, you’re doing amazing already! You’re not going to improve things by being angry with yourself for stumbling. Anger doesn’t help us make better choices, it just makes us linger in a bad place and feed our insecurities. Acknowledge that you’ve been keeping yourself alive and are doing your best before you even think of scolding yourself. Give yourself a compliment of being where you are, because there are many diabetics out there who don’t care about their health and die early deaths because they don’t want to better themselves. Just wanting to be healthy and putting your best foot forward is worthy of praise.

Be kind to yourself. You deserve it. It doesn’t mean you’re not trying hard enough or rewarding failures.

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