To Criticize Or Not To Criticize
Words can lift you up as well as tear you down take heed!
By Travis Grubbs
August 2008 — To criticize or not to criticize? That seems to be the question. We, the type 2 diabetes community , have a lot of challenges. We have to persevere through misconceptions about our condition, diet, and treatment. We have to battle the diabetes police who want to rule over what we eat, what we do, etc. We can get bombarded with "miracle cures" for diabetes. We have to do deal with the complications that arise after our diagnosis. And then we have those that criticize us for being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the first place. The challenges can go on, but I won't.
Of the above challenges, the critics irritate me the most. I don't know who gave them the authority to assume the position of "Type 2 Critic", but it certainly was not me. A lot of times the criticism is unsolicited. I normally find it in various forums such at a popular diabetes website. Such comments include, "Type 2's are to blame for their diagnosis because they did not take care of themselves", and "The increase of the type 2 population is responsible for the negative backlash from the public towards all diabetics." These particular comments came from a type 1. I have found that some type 1's can be especially critical.
I have gotten so angry over some comments that I have taken periodic breaks from reading the forums. While I think that the criticisms are insulting and self-serving, I also believe that they do a lot of damage by discouraging the very people that need to make improvements in their lives. Words are powerful. They can lift you up as well as tear you down. That should always be remembered.
Negative comments can also leave one in such an irritated state that they can have negative consequences for innocent civilians. To set the stage: It was the evening of July 27, 2008. It was right after reading the aforementioned negative comments regarding type 2's, by a type 1. I was watering my garden when my neighbor's girl friend, a cute and perky 20 year old, who is also type 1, came to the fence and told me that today was my neighbor's birthday. During our conversation I then mentioned that July 24, 2008 was my birthday. I told her that I turned 46 after she inquired about my age. She then quickly exclaimed…"You are only 46?!"
A dark cloud began to descend upon us. My neighbor's girlfriend was standing there in her little shorts and t-shirt. I was standing there with a fully loaded water hose. The negative comments I recently read from the type 1 began to move to the front of mind. They began to mingle with the girlfriend's exclamation about my age. Miss Perky was within seconds of soaked! Fortunately, for both of us, I smiled and said … "I really need to shave this grey beard."
Thankfully there are more than negative criticisms at the forums I visit. I recently read where a member named "Tim" now weighs 300 pounds. The good news is that he used to weigh 440 pounds! Now we could all jump up and scream…"440 pounds? That's awful!" But, I want to jump up and scream, "You lost 140 pounds? That's awesome!" In fact, I did contact Tim and congratulate him on his weight loss. He told me that his goal is to get down to 250 pounds. I believe he will reach it.
Remember, the past is the past. Let it go. Look to the future and how you are going to improve your health, lose weight, and manage your diabetes. Try to stay away from, or manage, the negative influences in your life. This may involve having a heart-to-heart talk with a negative/critical spouse, family member, friend, etc. Sometimes you will just have to ignore those that deem themselves to be self-righteous and above humanity. Be thankful for those that encourage us, and give them a hug today.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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A few years ago, I wrote about a friend whose struggles with Disability left him without insulin for weeks at a time. Today, I ask those of you who follow the tradition to light a blue candle for "Tiny", who passed from this world yesterday morning. From what I know, this young man (he was no older than 37, and may not have even reached the age of 30) had early onset type 2...