Tame Your Inner Critic with T1D

People with T1D can be their own worst critics. You have high expectations for yourself and your diabetes management. You tell yourself your blood sugars should be lower, you should be eating healthier, or you shouldn’t feel burnt out. When you don’t meet these expectations, you beat yourself up, thinking being hard on yourself will somehow motivate you to do better.

Self-compassion means being understanding toward yourself when you fail or feel inadequate. Research shows that self-compassion can help you better cope with the stress of living with diabetes and improve your quality of life. So why not use this to your advantage?

Here are four steps you can take to increase your self-compassion with T1D:

Take your own advice

Imagine you have a friend with T1D who comes to you because she is feeling burnt out with diabetes. She is getting down on herself because she thinks that she should be able to snap out of it, but she can’t. What would you say to her? My guess is you probably would be supportive and encourage her to cut herself some slack – which is excellent advice! You are probably harder on yourself than you would be with her. When you’re having a hard time, try taking your own advice and be as compassionate with yourself as you would be with a friend.

Be self-aware

Self-compassion involves being willing to notice your negative thoughts and emotions with T1D. To be compassionate with yourself, you have to be aware of what you are feeling. Trying to push your thoughts and feelings aside makes it impossible for you to practice self-compassion. Sitting with difficult experiences is not always easy. However, when you practice self-compassion, you can acknowledge your reality, without getting swept up in negativity.


See yourself as normal

You are hardest on yourself when you think other people are dealing with T1D better than you are. The reality is, T1D is challenging for everyone. When you realize there are a lot of other people just like you who are also having a hard time with T1D, it makes it easier to be self-compassionate. T1D may not be easy, but we are all in this together.

Practice, practice, practice

Self-compassion may not come naturally to you – it is a skill you need to practice. Here is a simple way to start. Instead of letting your self-critic get the best of you the next time T1D stresses you out, try telling yourself, ‘It’s ok that I’m having a hard time right now.’ You are acknowledging whatever you are feeling, without being critical of yourself. Give it a try and see how it works.


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