Well we’ve fallen off the bandwagon a bit with the monthly blog posts (and by “we”, I mean “I” – Emilee here!). But this is the way life (and diabetes management!) goes sometimes – slip ups happen, against our best intentions. The best thing we can do for ourselves and our goals is to accept reality and chose to get back on track with eyes on the road ahead. It is important not to ruminate and beat ourselves up for what has already passed and cannot be changed.
Which ties right into our theme for June – Body Acceptance!
What does it mean to accept one’s body?
A lot of times the word acceptance is mistaken for approval, as though the only way we can accept something is if we like it – and vice versa, if we dislike it, then it must be unacceptable.
But acceptance does not have to be based entirely upon approval. In fact, the most powerful application of acceptance is towards what we don’t actually like but we choose to “allow”. For example, even though we will never like or wish to have diabetes, we do not have to deny, resist, or hate it.
As a type 1 diabetic – and I’ll speak for myself here, but perhaps you can relate – there have been many times I have disliked my body. Appearances aside, the bottom line is it doesn’t function properly – it is flawed, imperfect (according to my own self-constructed standard). How could I possibly like it? It causes me struggle and suffering, effort and pain.
But through my strong desire for it to be something other than it is (i.e. refusal to accept it), I make my suffering so much worse because I am resisting reality. If I chose instead to accept the painful truth that I have to live with diabetes and I just adapt accordingly, I am free of the burden of resistance and pain.
It seems counter-intuitive, but wishing for a positive creates a negative state, whereas accepting a negative actually creates a positive state.
I can wish that I didn’t have diabetes all I want, but spending all my energy focused on this only increases my suffering by adding on mental and emotional pain. Instead, if I accept what I cannot change, I can move forward within my own realm of possibility.
“But how can I accept something I wish was different??” Simple – stop wishing it was different!
It is amazing how acceptance can end up being the catalyst for the change we want – for example, it may seem like if you are out of shape and you want to be able to run a marathon, the correct response to reach your goal would be to hate your body until you are fit. But this is not only inaccurate, but harmful. Workout because you love your body, don’t workout so that you love your body – this only breeds misery and will likely not get you anywhere near your goal. However, if you accept where you are right now and choose to love your body no matter what, you are more likely to actually experience positive shifts towards your goal because you are driven by unconditional love .
Accepting our bodies, diabetes and all, in whatever shape or size they may be, is an important choice we all have the power to make.
Though our minds may conjure up a list of reasons why our bodies are unacceptable, we can counteract this with healthy reminders as to why our bodies are uniquely wonderful and worthy of appreciation. As an example:
My body might not be perfect (according to arbitrary standards), but it is uniquely mine; it is part of what makes me, me. It is the vessel for my consciousness; it allows me to interact with the world and to experience so much. I am blessed to have the body I do. It keeps me alive, it lets me feel happiness and pain and pleasure and sadness and wonder. I cannot hate my body, “flawed” though it may be, because I am so grateful for all that it allows me to experience in spite of all the struggle.
Whether you feel down about your body’s appearance or functionality, remember that if you refuse to accept it the way it is, you will only cause yourself pain and suffering. You can make the choice to accept it, as hard as it may be, and you will find this extremely transformative. We are always here at ICD to help you out if you need any reminders about how amazing your body (and you!) are. We would love to hear your stories too about your experience practicing acceptance!
May this month be filled with acceptance of our awesome, type 1 diabetes-riddled bodies!!