How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.
I thought about self-forgiveness today, on my way home from the nephrologist. In my life, self-forgiveness has come in stages. I remembered this today, when I visited the doctor. She was full of good news — the result of this month’s lab tests was excellent, and all my numbers were within limits, although some were on the ragged edge of high or low.
My problem arose when Dr. C. asked me about the past week. I feel good, and that’s held true for the week. But when I feel good, I sometimes eat way outside my allowances, as though to do so was a reward. This week I ate far too much phosphorus, in the form of cream cheese and cottage cheese. Both are fat-free, but that has nothing to do with phosphorus. To make matters worse, I was quite lackadaisical in taking my phosphorus binders, (one Tums with each meal.) My skin now shows characteristics of high phosphorus.
When I told the doctor about my wavering compliance with my food plan, I felt compelled to confess, as well, that I skipped far too many sessions on my pedaler. On the days when I exercise, my blood glucose stays well controlled. When I skip pedaling for a day, my sugars whack out. I know how to solve this dilemma. Why haven’t I?
That confession brought back a lot of my old guilt; I felt worthless and incapable of success. In fact, I began to dip into “I can’t do anything.” Fortunately, I stopped before I ran very far down that road. As I rode home, I reflected on those old feelings, and on my laziness and feeling of entitlement. (More on entitlement next post,)
What about myself convinces me that I can ignore the program so many other diabetics follow? I saw a friend with diabetes at work on Wednesday, and while he has occasionally run into trouble, he does not accept the sense of failure and defeat I lived with so long. I remember times when this friend offered me encouragement , when he tried to convince me to smile and lighten up on myself. I thought of this friend today, and decided I was due for another session of self-forgiveness. I believe this will be part of my life as long as I live, fighting off the guilt and the self-condemnation, and replacing it with acceptance and self-forgiveness. I recommend this strategy to anyone who ever messed up, or felt themselves a failure. For me, at least, it’s the only way to move forward with my life.