Feeling Less Vulnerable With Diabetes

A diagnosis of type 1 or 2 diabetes, for ourself or a loved one, can leave us feeling extremely vulnerable, and anxious.

Though facing any illness may serve as a wakeup call, motivating us to examine our priorities and lifestyle, a chronic feeling of vulnerability can be daunting, depressing, or dispiriting.

To feel less vulnerable, and more resilient, we need to cultivate an internal sense of confidence and security that allows us to thrive despite life’s uncertainties, and the prospect of managing diabetes.

Power of Decision

Our sense of personal power is partly generated by decision-making, or declaring what we desire and value. When others are allowed to choose for us, we give this power away. It’s wise, then, to become knowledgeable about diabetes so we can intelligently consult with healthcare providers and make informed choices.

Empowerment is also produced by implementing the lifestyle changes that wellness requires. Putting these changes off because they trigger anxiety, or because our symptoms have not yet become distressing, disallows the security generated by good self care—and exacerbates our sense of vulnerability.

By informing ourselves, making the difficult choices, and following-though on our decisions we strengthen our resolve, and help ourselves feel more secure. Then, we are ready to enhance this confidence by expanding our focus.

Power of Engagement

When we are stuck with something we don’t want, such as an illness, pursuits that encourage discovery and personal growth energize and empower us. These activities let us participate in life’s generative forces, and appreciate ourselves apart from the confines of diabetes management. We might, for instance:

  • Exercise our creative energies. What is more empowering than bringing something beautiful or useful (or both) into the world? The mental and emotional energy precipitated by any creative endeavor dispels the fog of worry, and helps us view everything with fresh eyes.
  • Follow our curiosity. Pursuing things that stimulate the mind is both challenging and exhilarating, carrying our thoughts far beyond the mundane repetition of tasks such as glucose monitoring. Sometimes, when the mind is curious and excited, chores that tend to annoy or depress us are handled easily because our emotional energy is invested in what enlivens us.
  • Cultivate compassion. Exploring one’s spirituality, working on self-forgiveness, building relationships, or getting involved with others through volunteering are ways of tapping into the supportive love and sense of belonging that all human beings, to different degrees, desire.
  • Quiet the mind. Our intuition often kicks in when the thinking mind takes a break. Even five or ten minutes a day of prayer, guided meditation, inspirational reading, mindfulness, or other types of mediation can help us get in touch with our innate wisdom.
  • Activate our awe. Our capacity for wonder is both humbling and empowering. Engaging life’s big questions, enjoying nature, playing with children, or devotion to something larger than the self can stimulate our sense of awe. From the perspective of awe our problems - at least temporarily - seem small, and manageable.

All these activities, and our decisions, diminish the sense of vulnerability by expanding our core sense of self, and our self-efficacy. We become increasingly certain that we will handle life’s uncertainty to the best of our ability.

Source: Chopra Center

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