Quick check-up: What’s up with your self-esteem?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2011-02-24 19:05:13 -0600
Started 2011-02-20 22:18:59 -0600

A chronic illness like diabetes can result in a big dent in your self-esteem. That is, if you let it.

I don’t need to recite the reasons. Diabetes presents a lot of challenges. And sometimes dealing with those challenges can take a big hit on how you are feeling about yourself. That's just human nature. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Here are some ideas to give your self-esteem a boost:

Have some compassion for yourself, beginning with your self-talk. Turn off the negative messages inside your head and replace them with positive ones. Instead of beating up on yourself, tell yourself that you are trying as hard as you can. Remind yourself daily that you are a worthwhile person, capable of loving and worthy of being loved. Remind yourself that you have some health challenges that you want to overcome, that you are looking for solutions, that you are determined to move forward in creating a better life.

Do an inventory of your strengths and accomplishments by making a list of everything that you have accomplished in your life so far. What do the people you care about appreciate about you? What are you the “go-to guy” for? And add this to your self-talk.

How’s your self-care routine? Stay open to new ways to take more control in your life. Are programs that you might get involved with that would help you to better manage your diet or exercise? This might be worth a conversation with your doctor, or a CDE, or a nurse, and some research on your own. Of course, I would recommend only moving forward with a strategy that your doctor is comfortable with.

What about the people in your life? Refuse to buy into the judgments of others. Tell people who constantly criticize you that this is unacceptable. Tell the people you care about how they can help you, and what you can do for yourself. And ask how you can support them in return.

Maybe it’s time to find some new people to bring into your life. Are you involved in any religious activities? This might be a good time to connect with some spiritual support as well as meet other people. Have you looked into support groups related to weight loss or diabetes? How about doing an hour or two of volunteer work that might get your around other people as well as give someone else a helping hand?

While you’re at it, if you are comparing yourself to other people you will always come up short. You are a unique individual, progressing on your own path in life. And you're doing the best you can with more accomplishments to come.

If you are really feeling like you can’t get a handle on your self-esteem, you might want to consider talking to a mental health professional to help you to sort out how you are feeling about yourself, and help you to work on building up a more positive outlook on yourself and the world around you. Don't go through this alone!

Any tips you want to share on how you keep your self-esteem at peak performance? Anything we can do to help you?

Here on Diabetic Connect, you are surrounded by cheerleaders, so let us do our job. Go team!

27 replies

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-02-24 19:05:13 -0600 Report

Thanks for your timely post. Yesterday my BG went unexpectedly low at an inopportune moment after it had been high for no apparent reason. Resulting in me feeling highly frustrated and low in the self esteem department. Suddenly I felt like I did during the first few months of learning to deal with this Diabetes monster. Your reminder to stop and check over accomplishments was very helpful. I had been doing pretty good at keeping my BG within an acceptable range. The sudden up and down was most likely caused by a lingering respritory infection and not by my incompetence. I was able to get the right combo of carb and protein to end the rollercoaster ride.

MewElla 2011-02-23 16:16:44 -0600 Report

I realized pretty quickly that no one on this earth could "fix this diagnosis". It shook me up briefly and then I decided to fight it as hard as I could. So I started really pushing myself that I could do my best, no matter how tired I got, I was not going to give up on "me." I do everything I can, keep myself surrounded by all these great people on this site, and keep on doing the best I can day after day. It's all I've got…

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-23 22:26:49 -0600 Report

Hi! It comes down to living life on life's terms. But you're doing it, and that is a lot. It's really valuing yourself enough to do whatever you have to do to stay healthy. Support makes all the difference, doesn't it? Glad to have you here! Stay in touch!

Sweet Survivor
Sweet Survivor 2011-02-23 21:46:55 -0600 Report

Hello! My first CONNECT discussion (Sweet Survivor).
I hate to tell you—but we all know that life itself is a battle.
ButHAVNIG DIABETES is a lifelong war! I've been Insulin Depepndent Diabetes Mellitus (iddm—Type-I Juvenile) since 1961! I gird my loins for every glucose stick,
and every injection—because now, after so long the scar tissue HURTS.
I always thought I might live to age 74—the same age as the first girl who received
insulin therapy in 1920's. But I have to push and do it every four hours, every day and every night—24/7! Do yoou feel you can't do it much more? I'm here to say, that
DIABETIC PEOPLE NEVER GET A BREAK from their regime, whatever it is. And too, I
always felt it could be MUCH worse (like asthma or cancer). . .Keep up the
determination. signed "Sweet Survivor"

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-23 22:37:18 -0600 Report

Hi! Sorry to read about your struggles. You are going through a lot. But you also sound determined. I want to give you as much support as I can on this journey. Stay in touch!

jayabee52 2011-02-23 23:15:19 -0600 Report

if you haven't yet, read the "about me" section of her profile. You'll get a better picture of what she has to go through 24/7/365

jayabee52 2011-02-23 22:30:14 -0600 Report

From reading your profile I can certainly understand your feeling that way.

Blessings to you and yours


0tina0 2011-02-23 15:43:42 -0600 Report

I am one of those really strong annoying personalities…I don't have any self esteem problems but I get super bugged by negative people and what I call 'dooms day', glass is already empty, people. Does that make any sense? The ones that come up to me almost in tears because I look tired…or because they heard of my cancer or diabetes. That's why I like it here, positive people with good advise and encouragement. Thanks everybody!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-23 16:11:28 -0600 Report


I enjoyed reading your post and really appreciated your honesty. I know what you're talking about. Constant negativity can be exhausting (a common complaint from therapists). But I work hard to have compassion, for myself and others. People are suffering, and they sometimes have difficulty looking beyond their day to day suffering, and so they can't see the bigger picture. I try to encourage them to see that.

And I can imagine that overly-sympathetic people must get on your nerves. I suspect they don't know what to say or do, and so they assume what you want is their sympathy.

You might want to gently let them know that you are dealing with life as it is, and just need people to be themselves with you, as you are with them. Sometimes we have to educate the people around us. But boy, it can take a lot of patience sometimes, I know.

Thanks again. Sending you more positive energy...

bizzach 2011-02-22 11:15:03 -0600 Report

I have low self esteem and this gave me some ideas of how to organize my thoughts and good points of my life thanks for the pep talk!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-23 16:06:00 -0600 Report

Great news! This is exactly what I hoped to do. Please keep in touch, and let me know if you have any questions. Glad to help you in any way I can.

PetiePal 2011-02-22 10:39:54 -0600 Report

Great post Doc. Positivity is really the first step. Getting out and involved is a huge thing and the bit about not comparing yourself to others is 1000% true. You can never ALWAYS measure up so just worry about you!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-23 16:01:00 -0600 Report

HI! Nice to run into you, as always. And you said it! Each of us is on his/her own path, moving forward at our own pace. And each of us us unique in our own way. When we take our eyes off other people, and stop looking for deficits in ourselves, we can free ourselves up to be open to our own special gifts, and the possibilities for using them in a bigger way. Thanks! And have a great week!

GabbyPA 2011-02-21 20:14:02 -0600 Report

One of the things that helps me so much is having people around me that are not negative (for the most part anyway) That is a life saver. I mean, I do try to be real about things, but I also very much try to turn the situation around to make it a positive one. That is what gives me confidence. If I make a mistake or if someone tells me a truth I don't like, but need to hear, I know it will make me better if I listen and act on it. I was not always this way, it does take a lot of GOOD self talk, that is for sure. But it can change and that is what can give us all hope.

WendyFR 2011-02-21 22:07:48 -0600 Report

exactly what I do.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-21 22:23:49 -0600 Report

Hey Gabby and Wendy,

I agree. We have to be really careful about the people we allow into our lives, and we have to set boundaries with people who, out of their own limitations, seem to need to drag other people down into their suffering. We don't have control over every person who comes into our life, e.g. family members and co-workers, but we can still be a support for them, and even encourage them have a more positive attitude.

Some of my best teachers have not always been very gentle with thier lessons. Still, I also use self-talk to sort out the lesson from the way it was delivered, so that I can grow without being brought down in the process.

Every day brings new challenges, but working on maintaining a positive attitude really works, as you know.


realsis77 2011-02-21 10:50:47 -0600 Report

Wow what a great message! Lately I must be honest, my self esteem has been at an all time low. I'm still letting other people dictate how I feel. I know its wrong but I've noticed I've slipped into that again. If someone at home puts me down and calls me names I start to believe it. It seems if there in a bad mood I try to make it better but when I can't I fall into a bad mood too.I know I shouldn't let other peoples emotions dictate how I feel but sometimes I do. With all the stress I've been under lately I've really let my self esteem slip. When others put you down or give you the silent treatment its hard to feel good about your self.that's what I need to work on. Not letting others make me feel bad about myself.any advice?? Thanks so much!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-21 19:17:02 -0600 Report


You sound like such a wonderful, caring person in your posts. I'm sorry to hear that the people in your life aren't giving you the support that you deserve.

It's normal to get into bad moods, we can't always be even. And it's hard not to be hurt when people we care about don't treat us well. And being under a lot of stress has a way of leaving you feeling not all that good about yourself.

I would recommend a few things. Reach out to people who are consistently caring and supportive and find a way to spend some time with them. Where you can, let people know that you don't want to be treated with anger and disrespect (you might have to repeatedly remind some people). Remind yourself that other people are suffering, and have a lot of negativity in their own lives, and when they send it outward toward you, it is really their problem and not yours. It's a shame, but it's their shame.

Work on your self talk. Remind yourself every day that you are not anyone else's victim, that you are doing the best you can, that you are valuable and lovable, and that you don't have to depend on other people to define you.

Take time to enjoy your life, to be involved in the activities that mean the most to you and, again, to spend time with people who give you back what you give to them. I hope you have some of these people in your life.

And stay in touch with the gang here on Diabetic Connect. No judgment, no put-downs, just positive energy!