by Claire M. Blum, MS Ed, RN, CDE
Most of us who live with diabetes have at some time experienced hurt and judgment at the hand of well meaning family, friends, health care providers, and bystanders who believe they know the answer to all that ails us. As a result we may experience frustration, guilt, or shame, and we sometimes feel inferior. And, in an effort to protect our dignity we often build walls around our hearts.
Unfortunately, this type of protective response can lead to more pain and isolation, because the walls we build to protect from hurt, separate us from our hearts, and from others who can help. All living things are intricately woven into a web of mutual dependence. Nature organizes in cooperative networks of relationships that depend on each other. Without these interdependent networks, life ceases to exist. We need to connect with others if we wish to survive and heal, and the wisdom we gain from our wounds allows us to heal each other.
Expertise may cure, but wounded people heal best by connecting with other wounded people. "Only other wounded people can understand what is needed, for the healing of suffering is compassion, not expertise." Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
When people come together to provide insight and support, behaviors begin to change. And as they begin to talk with each other about things that matter, the world begins to change.
Conversation is the natural way we humans think together.
There is no power for change greater than community discovering what it cares about.
It's not differences that divide us. It's our judgments about each other that do.
Reality doesn't change itself. We need to act. ~ Margaret J. Wheatley
People who have diabetes often succeed and transcend their goals and dreams because they have learned how to connect their head with their hearts. They learn to embrace life. And, through connection with others who face similar challenge, they find the courage that is needed to live with hope.