As you reflect on the management of your diabetes in the year 2017, what are the first thoughts that come to mind? Has it been a difficult year where things have gone wrong? Has it been a better year than last year? Have you benefitted from your diabetes in any way?
Hopefully there have not been too many difficulties for you, but if there were, why not try to reframe those difficulties. What have you gained from them? If you don’t believe that you could gain from having diabetes, let me share some ideas of what you probably did gain, over and above all the knowledge you learned as you managed your diabetes.
What you might have gained
- You developed a greater appreciation of life itself. Diabetes is one chronic condition where you can continue living a healthy life if you follow your treatment well.
- Your sense of self-worth increased as you realised you really want to live and will do what you have to do to keep living.
- You developed more resilience – the courage to come back – as you tackled your diabetes each day, even if you did not always succeed.
- You strengthened your resistance to the tough times and that allowed you to cope better when the tough times came.
- You learned more perseverance because diabetes is ongoing and requires your input daily.
- You gained confidence as you coped with the ups and downs and gained experience of what was happening.
- You developed the capacity to be adaptable and flexible since diabetes is never an exact science and often does the unexpected.
- You developed the ability to learn from your experiences.
- You increased your level of tolerance of negative emotions and failures.
- You have greater compassion and empathy for others who have struggles, especially those who have diabetes.
- You have developed the ability to maintain courage, hope and informed optimism in the face of diabetes.
So, although negative consequences are usually associated with diabetes, there is positive personal growth too. How many of these qualities do you think you have gained? I am sure if you think about it, there will be at least a little of each. If it is just a little, keep working at your diabetes in the best way you can and you will come to the end of next year with more days of adjustment, inner peace and positive self-worth. At best you will be a stronger person, who is well able to continue managing your diabetes effectively for now and in the future. May 2018 be a year like that for you.