Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2011-03-01 15:40:18 -0600
Started 2011-02-26 20:41:56 -0600

If there is one thing that we can count on in life, it is change. Think about what we have witnessed in the world around us over the last year alone, and think about the change you have witnessed in your own family, your community, and yourself. Some of it good, some of it maybe not so good. If you are anything like me, you probably like the idea of change, but not the reality of it. Or, also like me, you want to embrace change in your life but only in terms of the aspects of your life that you actually want to change. In other words, to be in control of any change in your life.

But the changes in life don't work that way. And probably life gives us no greater evidence that we aren’t in control than through the experience of chronic conditions, which provide us with a day-to-day reminder that change is out of our control.

Digging in your heels? When we live in denial of change, we only cause ourselves more distress. Still, I often find myself wishing that some aspects of life could stay the same, and that people I care about could stay just as they are and not get older, or have health problems that affect what we can do together. And of course, I wish that for myself. Sometimes I want to dig in my heels and pretend change isn’t occurring right in front of my nose – like maybe if I pretend it isn’t there, then it won’t be. But it is. Nothing stays the same. My comfortable routines in life are constantly being snatched away, and I have to roll with those punches.

When I think of someone – myself included – avoiding change, I have an image of someone walking along a sidewalk, staring down as they walk, avoiding anything but the 5 feet of pavement in front of them. Trying to see as little as possible so he/she can avoid seeing anything that might be unfamiliar, or scary. They manage to do a pretty good job of avoiding until they run into a wall.

But we all have a choice. We can instead look around, take in the good and the not so good. Face it as it comes, understand it, adjust to it. That’s what I remind myself to do in my own life. Sometimes I’m more successful than other times. I’m a work in progress, just like you are.

While I’m looking around, I also tell myself to look upward, at the open sky. There’s a lot more to the universe than what I see in the five feet in front of me. A lot to know, a lot to experience. The limits turn into limitlessness.

What I am saying is that when you focus what’s possible, then the changes that you have to make in my life don’t see so catastrophic.

Wake up and make friends with yourself. Work with the aspects of yourself that you are happy about, and the aspects that you aren’t so happy about, like your chronic condition. Accept and embrace all of yourself. Remind yourself that you are not a diagnosis. You are a lot more than that.

We can choose to work with change. For a chronic illness, learning how to take care of ourselves in ways that keep us as healthy as possible. And working with healthcare professionals that can be our guides on this journey. Self-care is the foundation of dealing with the changes in life that chronic conditions introduce.

Having support along the journey can make a big difference. Caring friends and family. The support of others who are facing similar challenges, and who can not only give but need support in return.

And a spiritual connection – however you define it – is also an invaluable resource. Again, not limits but limitlessness.

Everybody on Diabetic Connect is an expert in their own right on facing life on life’s terms, not as we wish life could be.

Okay, I told you how I deal with change in my life. How do you do it? Any experiences or secrets to share?

24 replies

0tina0 2011-02-28 22:48:52 -0600 Report

On October 30, 2008 I became a diabetic. My life really did change at that time. I had no idea what to expect and every day is new and challenging. I am so thrilled to be alive that the changes seem trivial! Before my diabetes I would have never taken the time to join agroup like this and I would have probably still been working or cleaning something right now, and its 10pm. Do I have bad days like everyone else? Heck ya! But for the most part my biggest change was in attitude…

jayabee52 2011-02-28 10:53:45 -0600 Report

I used to have a poster which had a cartoon drawing of a turtle. It said: "Behold the turtle! It only makes progress when it sticks its neck out,"

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-01 15:40:02 -0600 Report

Thank you. This is wonderful. Sometimes change can give us a push to look at our lives in a new way, to appreciate what we previously didn't really value, to feel a sense of the present, a sense of urgency to make the best of each moment. A change in some aspect of our lives can be a wake-up call. And you're right, change begins inside. When we change our attitude toward ourselves, and toward the world, we empower ourselves to create a whole new way of being! Nothing has to stop us.

Thanks again! And stay in touch!

MewElla 2011-02-28 10:30:58 -0600 Report

It is a good thing that I have been able to accept a lot of change in my life, starting with losing my husband, being alone, and trying to start my life as a "me" and not as a "we" anymore. Moving to a new city, not knowing anyone, really sorting through getting to know me..Realizing it was up to me to make the changes, I had no one to help me anymore. I wanted a good/happy life so I began very small baby steps, and now taking steps in learning how to live with my diabetes. It is scary but I am determined to do my best. Now, having tremendous support from others on this diabetic community is making a huge difference to me.So change came big time, I did not like it, but I learned I had to make the best of what I had been given and after all, I am worth it to me!!

MAYS 2011-02-28 10:17:07 -0600 Report

The best way for someone to view change is in this way, it offers possibilities!
Change should be embraced, without change there can be no growth, no growth means no progress.

CaliKo 2011-02-27 14:42:51 -0600 Report

Hi Dr. Gary,
I usually have to be forced into change, I'm such a creature of habit. What's the name of that book… "Who Moved My Cheese?" or something like that. But, once I'm forced into changing something, like right now since I was laid off, I do try to figure out how I can solve the problem at hand and improve my situation at the same time. Right now I'm trying to figure out if I really have to work full-time, or maybe a less stressful, part-time job closer to home might be better. Or even freelance. It will all work out, I just don't know exactly how just yet. There are some possibilities.
Hope you are enjoying the weekend!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-27 16:41:55 -0600 Report

We are all creatures of habit, I agree. And what can be positive about change being forced on us is that it gives us an opportunity to access our strengths, to draw upon resources that we never thought we had, and to know that we really can face adverse situations and survive, and even thrive. Making job-related changes are always scary. But as you say, it will all work out because you will make it work out. Focus on the possibilities.

I am enjoying the weekend, and hope you are too!

BandonBob 2011-02-27 14:00:13 -0600 Report

I always remember what Satchel Paige once said, "Never look back because you don't know what is gaining on you." You can't change the paqst so live in today and hope for tomorrow.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-27 16:36:10 -0600 Report

Absolutely. It's ironic in a way. People often don't want to embrace change in the present, but they sure wish they could change the past. Right?

BandonBob 2011-02-27 17:45:21 -0600 Report

Occasionally I think about changing the past and then I realize what I probably would have missed if I had changed things in the past. Among those things would be not marrying my wonderful wife or also not marrying my first wife who at least gave me a great daughter when she left. Who knows where you might end up? Certainly not worth trying. I think the odds are great that things would probably work out worse if you could change them.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-28 08:29:26 -0600 Report

That is a very good point. It is always interesting to look back on your life and wonder what it would be like if you made a different choice when you were at that fork in the road. It can leave you with regrets but also feeling glad about the choices you made. I remind myself that I made the best choices that I could at the time that I made them, and that I did the best I could with the resources that I had. It comes down to accepting the past, and letting it be, and focusing on the possibilities in the present. Still, it can be hard to resist wanting to rewrite history. That's just human nature. And I agree, taking that alternate fork in the road would have created a whole new set of challenges.

MAYS 2011-02-27 09:02:14 -0600 Report

Change doesn't faze me.
Without change (and imagination) there would be no human existence.
To fear change, or what it can bring is to fear life to some extent, life is composed of changes, good and bad.

My motto, and desire in life is to "Always Move Forward."
By doing so (regard of the pace) you will have a sense of measurement to look back upon to see how far you have progressed, a great aspect of time itself.

Although I am judgemental, I also make sure that it applies to me, I question myself when necessary, looking very closely at the situation at hand, apply the necessary method(s) required to deal with the current situation and move on.
I don't believe in dwelling on an issue, especially if it has been resolved.

Change is about living, I love me, and most importantly I love life!
So doing all that I can within my power to survive mentally, physically and emotionally is a no-brainer, so whether it's my diabetes or any other issues I just deal with it realistically.
Although we may fear it, change is good, we just have to give it a chance, without fear!


Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-27 11:11:24 -0600 Report

HI Mays,

It's been awhile. You have a very empowered attitude toward change. That's great. Facing the challenges and, as you say, moving forward, is a winning strategy. I suspect that in the process you are constantly learning more about yourself, tapping into new resources, growing as a person.

And I agree, change is about living, life is about change.

Thanks for providing some inspiration for the day!


petals 2011-02-27 07:50:03 -0600 Report

Sometimes I deal with the changes head on, I roll with the flow. And then there are things that hit so hard, that I just bury my head in the sand and wish that I never knew about it.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-27 11:09:06 -0600 Report

Thanks for your honesty. Hoping something will just go away is human nature. We are psychologically hard-wired to maintain the status quo, not to undergo big changes. But, like you, I have learned to face them and get on with life. I have discovered that some of the changes I thought I wouldn't be able to withstand, I have resulted in making me stronger, and teaching me new ways to be in the world. Again, not comfortable but an opportunity for growth! I hope you have a great day!

petals 2011-02-27 13:56:48 -0600 Report

I haven't thought it about that way , as an opportunity for growth! I like that! I will write that in my journal. If I make it through the changes in my marriage and with my life right now, I will freaking wonder woman!!:) Thank you.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-02-27 16:34:43 -0600 Report

I think you already are wonder woman. It's just to own that role and step into it! And you are on your way there!

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