I was at a personal growth conference in July when a friend of mine got up in front of 700 people to ask the facilitator this question:” How do I love men when I hate me?” I felt a tremendous amount of pain for my friend because if he could have seen what we in the audience saw, he would not have felt the way he did about himself. I later cornered my friend to explore what had contributed to his self-loathing. He told me, “People judge me based on who or what they perceive I am. I have to fight myself not to feel bad about who I am. It still affects me”.
Most recently, I read a comment on our website where someone had written a response to an article about a writer and how she was delusional for being thankful about her diabetes. I decided not to post the comment because the way in which this person expressed his opinion was offensive to anyone. If he had written, ” I respectfully disagree,” and then given reasons for the disagreement, we all might have been illuminated by understanding how and why someone might reject and hate his disease.
This person’s comment on the article reminded me of my friend at the conference. They both are unhappy with who they are. In the commentators case, he is self- loathing. This man could not find comfort in his diagnosis. Being cynical about his diabetes gives him a license to judge other people who can find good in their circumstance.
Here we have two people with diabetes who hate themselves. For my friend, people around him have set fire to his self-loathing. As for our commentator, his self-loathing is self-inflicted.
Does self-acceptance lend a person to seeing the world through rose-colored glasses? I don’t think so. Everybody deals with some type of a daily challenge. It could be health, work, family, friendship, finances—you can fill in your own list. I am not saying that having diabetes is a godsend, but I do believe how we face challenges defines who we are. We always have a choice in how we respond to these changes.
There certainly are steps in the evolution of dealing with diabetes: time, education, community support, and self-acceptance.
These don’t happen overnight. It takes time to absorb having diabetes and learning all we can about it. Family friends and a supportive healthcare community also help us find our way. Finally, understanding that for our own peace of mind, we must look for the good in all things.
What’s the point of looking for the negative in having diabetes? It only lends itself to feeling bad about a condition that in 2015 cannot be cured. If you have type 1 diabetes, you are still waiting for the cure. If you have type 2, you also are still waiting for the cure.
Learn to accept being where you are. The negativity out there is abundant if that’s where you want to focus. I recommend looking for the good in where you are and setting new goals for yourself. Your first step toward self-acceptance starts with stopping self-hatred and opening yourself to a desire to start liking yourself.