Adopting This Little Habit Could Make Your 2022 Awesome

This year, I challenge you to take a really honest look at how you think about yourself and your diabetes.

If you have a habit of seeing yourself as a victim of diabetes and view it as something unfair and terrible that happened to you, it’s safe to assume that you are struggling with diabetes. But which came first? The habits or the struggle?

Please don’t roll your eyes when you read this next sentence. The way you think about your diabetes and its presence in your life hugely affects your personal joy, your self-esteem, and your ability to reach your diabetes goals.

If you did roll your eyes then definitely keep reading, because even though it sounds cheesy: the thoughts in your head do shape so much of your life. Acknowledging that can be hard, but it’s worth it.

In fact, the way you think about your diabetes may be even more important than how many carbohydrates you eat, how often you check your blood sugar, and how well you can dose insulin for your meals.

The Self-Pity Trap

If you feel sorry for yourself because you have diabetes, you will keep yourself stuck in a life with less joy, less confidence, and less success in managing your health.

It starts with that very first habit of how you view this challenge in your life.

Life is hard—for everyone. There is not a soul on the planet who will live a life completely free of suffering, some type of pain or struggle, and hardship. Even the wealthiest or most beautiful or smartest people on the planet have their own set of struggles and heartbreak.

You might think there is someone in your world whose life seems carefree and easy because they have something you don’t have, they seem happy all the time, they’re very attractive, or they have a lot of money. But if you got to know this person better or knew what their future was like, there’s about a 100% chance that they, too, will struggle or suffer at different times in their life.

It’s hard not to compare our struggles to someone else’s.

There are a million versions of suffering and having diabetes is just one version. Most people experience many different versions of suffering, often all at the same time or scattered throughout life.

Thinking of yourself as a victim of diabetes is a habit, and it can affect nearly every part of your life.

It matters, because the thoughts in your head about diabetes go through an invisible little filter in your mind that leads you to conclusions. Those conclusions could be anything from “I’m terrible at this” to “Wow, this is a huge challenge on a daily basis and I still haven’t given up! I rock!”

When you stop feeling sorry for yourself and you embrace the fact that life is hard for everyone…the way you see your diabetes changes, too.

The Habit of Tearing Yourself Down for Struggling with Diabetes

When you’re stuck in self-pity, you’re not looking for solutions! You’re not looking at diabetes like a project that you can learn more about and improve on, bit by bit. How many times a day or week do you put yourself down for imperfect blood sugars, for indulging in a less-than-perfect food, or for over-treating a low?

How often do you say things like, “I hate this disease! I suck at this. I’m the worst person with diabetes. Exercising without lows is impossible—I quit. Pizza always ruins my blood sugars—I give up.”

Every time you tear yourself down for imperfections and mistakes, or blame diabetes for life not being easy, is another moment you keep yourself trapped in self-pity. If you’ve convinced yourself that life is unfair because you have diabetes, that doesn’t leave you with many options.

There’s nowhere to go from there. You’re stuck.

A New Habit: Seeing Diabetes as a Daily Challenge

Did you know that there is another option? Did you notice that many people with diabetes have figured out how to exercise or lose weight or balance their blood sugar around pizza or simply fill their life with joy despite having diabetes?

There’s only one difference: they see diabetes as a challenge. It’s something they strive to learn more about, to never let defeat them, to keep facing every day. They don’t tear themselves down for imperfect blood sugars. Instead, they just learn from it, brush it off, and move on.

Every time you would normally insult yourself or curse at the world for giving you diabetes is actually an opportunity to choose thoughts like:

  • “Wow, that meal had way more carbs in it than I thought! Noted!”
  • “Whoa, so lifting weights causes my blood sugar to spike. Maybe time to talk to my doctor about taking a small bolus for that workout!”
  • “Okayyyyy, I’m really tired of binging on carbs every time I go low—what can I do to help myself not do that anymore?”
  • “Today was hard. But I’m still here. Diabetes cannot beat me.”
  • “Arg, okay, I keep going low! Fine…I need to walk my dog before lunch so I don’t have all that insulin in my system! Let’s see if that helps prevent the lows.”
  • “Yup, diabetes sucks…but I am awesome at showing up every day, no matter what.”
  • “I can do this.”
  • “I will not give up!”
  • “I will try again.”
  • “I am awesome—whether my blood sugar is 2.7 mmol/L or 16.6 mmol/L.”

Yes, it matters! It matters whether you lift yourself up or tear yourself down. It changes not only how you view your diabetes but how you view yourself. It changes what you do to help yourself reach your diabetes goals.

It matters. Taking a closer look at your own mindset can change your life.

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How to Get Started with a New Mindset Habit…

Start small: just catch yourself in the habit of tearing yourself down or viewing yourself as a victim of diabetes. Write it down. Look at how many times a day you do this.

Write down 10 different phrases that could encourage you or lift you up when you’re struggling, when you’re low, when you’re high, when you’re mad, when you’re frustrated.

The phrases don’t have to be complicated. They just need to lift you up.

Then start catching yourself a little sooner. And reach for those phrases. It sounds too simple—I know—but this is how habits are born. Replace the old habit with a new habit. Your thoughts shape your life in a world where everyone struggles.

Insulet has paid a fee to engage Ginger as a content creator, however the views expressed in this article are solely those of Ginger.
This article touches on perception and mental health.  If you are struggling with mental health or your diabetes health in general, please contact your healthcare provider.