Protecting Yourself From Words That Hurt

by | Feb 7, 2018 | Blog, Communication, Dealingwithyourdiabetes | 0 comments

Don’t be surprised when people who don’t get it, don’t get it.

I recently had a comment on one of my posts about a particular word I chose to use.  It was “diabetic”.  They didn’t like it and felt that the word focused on the disease, not the person and was dehumanizing (my words, not theirs).  Their opinion and their feelings are valid, but if you live your life being offended by small things like this, you are giving away a lot of “Happy”.  I certainly can understand the perspective and how bad labels can make us feel, but I have come to realize those words really don’t make us feel one way or another.  We choose to let it bother us.  Or not.

It is easy to become sensitive to how we think the world sees us.  Especially if we think the world sees us in a negative light we agree with.  Tell me my legs are too thin and I will think you are a nut job. I have bird legs.  It wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all.  But tell me my waistline isn’t trim enough and I will feel very hurt because that’s a personal sore spot for me.  So perhaps it’s not the word “diabetic” (after all its only 8 tiny little letters – 7 if you don’t count the “i” twice), but how my reader feels about being diabetic.  If you have a negative view of diabetes, then that word used about you will obviously sting.  Being aware of why it bothers you is the key to changing your reaction to it.  If you are not sure, try to explore it further. You get to choose what feelings you cling to and which you let go.


We all have expectations based on our experiences and preferences.  Living with diabetes or any chronic illness gives you a unique set of experiences that will color your window to the world.  Maybe for the better.  Maybe for the worse.   For me, it made me understand what a gift life is and how little time we really have.  It has given me humility, gratitude and a will to squeeze out the most before my trip is done.  It also gave me a lot of pain early on and still throws a zinger at me occasionally.  I wish words were enough to share it all, but no one truly will ever understand what it is to be me.  I have people who I have shared experiences with – family, motherhood, corporate life, nursing life, church family, diabetics (yes I used that word!).  We all have a shared understanding of these commonalities.

But no one without diabetes will ever “get” how awful hypoglycemia feels.  No one who has never been pregnant will “get” what it feels like to feel a human moving inside you.  If you have never worked in an ER, you won’t “get” what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by the amount of need and how you can’t fix it all.  If you have never been raised in a family of 7, you won’t “get” what it feels like to have that many siblings.  No one will ever really “get” me and do everything I need them to do so that I never feel uncomfortable, misjudged, labeled, or hurt.  And no one will really ever get you, every single detail about you – diabetes or not.  So don’t be surprised when someone who doesn’t get it, doesn’t get it.

The next time a word is thrown your way that feels sharp and stings, be aware of the source of the feelings.  The thrower of the word is looking through their lens.  You are looking through yours.  Don’t take it personally. Don’t give away your joy waiting for other people to be just as you need them to.  Let go of the words and choose to hang on to your “Happy”.


Patricia %



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