Patience over Anger in Diabetes Management for Care & Control Long Term

Shelly Young, LPC Health Guide
  • Having diabetes or any chronic illness requires lots of patience. I once had a male companion who needed to check his blood glucose level and take an insulin injection before every meal. I recall his impatience as well as my own, when we traveled and were hungry and would finally find a restaurant. Having any chronic illness requires the patience of a saint, because illness requires extra care and that means spending time doing what we may not want to do.


    Patience is a quality that is so important. When you don't have it, daily living becomes uneasy. Trying to speed up your activities for fast results can produce a poor result that is ineffective or lacking in quality. I have often seen the truth in "haste makes waste," and retain some "not so fond" memories of the calamities that followed.

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    Impatience seems to show up when we want things to happen the way we've planned them and in our own time. Naturally, it doesn't always turn out this way. At these times, it's only our own ideas that have been taken into consideration. We forget about all the other factors in life and the other people that may be involved. The only concern is usually ourselves. We want things to go our own way and we want it now. When things don't happen according to our wishes, we easily become angry or irritated, creating a vicious cycle of impatience and anger.


    To work effectively with impatience, we need a place to start. A good place to start is knowing what we are dealing with in ourselves. What exactly is impatience? First, we are likely to be having some thoughts like "I don't have time for this," or "I've got to hurry" or "I don't feel like doing this now." Right now, I myself am feeling impatient about completing this very article I'm writing. So I'm noticing a few thoughts. "I have to complete this by 2:00 p.m" and "I can't wait to get back to the DVD I was watching." When I realized that I was thinking, rather than trying to push the thoughts away, I refocused my attention back to the writing. It is a way to release the thoughts without resisting them. It was a great relief.


    I noticed that my impatience also involved some agitation in the body. I handled this by allowing the agitation to be there without fighting with it. Resistance hurts, so I refuse to go there. Refusing to resist discomfort takes practice, but it's a skill that is well worth the effort. It requires opening rather than tightening. It is a simple strategy but not an easy one. It goes against the grain of habit.

    We're used to tensing up around agitation. I am describing the opposite. It's something you may need to try over and over again until you get good at it.


    True patience has insight and wisdom associated with it. A patient person can see the entire situation clearly, knowing that everything is in a continual state of flux. You are aware that plans can be made, but anything can go wrong and interfere with them. You are always ready for surprises and not getting what you want. Then you are truly in touch with the reality of change and prepared to manage the thoughts and feelings triggered by the situation.


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    It's important that patience doesn't deteriorate into complacency. Acceptance is a key factor when it comes to managing thoughts and feelings. The mindful way of handling thoughts and feelings involves embracing these experiences. External passivity is not conducive to a life that is well managed. Acceptance, on an emotional level, that the kitchen floor never stays clean, is a good thing. But acceptance that the floor continually gets dirty and doing nothing about it is another thing. The lack of action is not conducive to the health and well being of those living in the house. It's important not to confuse the passive internal skills that release us from anguish and the active external skills that lead to quality life circumstances.


    Patience is a wonderful virtue that can be developed by anyone and can bring about more ease in life. It takes a keen awareness of oneself to stay on top of the triggers and reactions that follow. Every day is filled with opportunities to practice patience and that practice can begin here and now.




Published On: December 14, 2010