“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer. I thought this quote was particularly fitting for this blog post about dealing with negativity while putting our true selves out there in the DOC, and I wanted to pay homage to one of my biggest influences on personal development, Wayne Dyer.
Thanks to the awesome peeps over at Diabetes Daily, today we in the DOC are collectively sharing the first ever #DOCburnout2015 experience. What this means is that we as a community are being encouraged to blog, or to share on Facebook or Twitter our personal experiences with any of the negative aspects of our generally amazingly supportive and loving DOC.
I approach the DOC the same way I approach anyone or anything in life… I love them/it. I actively choose to do everything from a place of love (both love for myself and love for all who surround me) whether it is checking out at the supermarket, meeting a client for the first time, or conducting an interview with someone I’ve never met and who I perceive to be a rock star/celebrity/founder of our DOC. This was not always my modus operandi. In the past, my life and my actions were filled with anger, resentment, pity, frustration, and a general “whatever” attitude. That attitude was something I built up around me like a wall to keep others out and to protect myself from being hurt. But eventually I learned that just like every other human, all I really wanted was to be loved and accepted for who I am, and that wall I built was stopping me from experiencing this acceptance. I also learned that letting people in and allowing others to see who we really are is scary as hell, but like anything that takes work to earn, is totally worth the effort.
What does this have to do with the DOC? Everything. Just like any community we are a part of in life, there inevitably will be people who are happy loving, and supportive, and people who are angry, mean, and insecure. Anytime anyone says or does something that aims to be hurtful towards me and my participation in the DOC (ranging from blogs, to Facebook posts, to YouTube videos, and trust me, I’ve gotten my share of Facebook messages, video comments, and emails that clearly stated that what I do online is any number of negative things ranging from arrogant to ignorant to worthless) I take a quick moment to think about why that person has decided to take the time out of their day to send that message in the first place, and the answer is always the same. That person is hurting. That person is not happy with their current circumstances in life. That person has a problem, or a number of problems, and one of the ways they have learned to temporarily feel good about themselves and their situation is to lash out at other people, to assert their perceived superiority while trying to make the recipient feel stupid or inferior.
In the past this would phase me. In the past I would respond with nasty words backed up with research in order to prove my being right. But that isn’t how I choose to do things now. For the past 8 years or so I’ve consciously learned (through consistent practice using forethought regarding the specific outcome I wanted from any situation) that not only do I not help myself in any way by engaging a bully, but I actually give them exactly what they want…attention. They are truly seeking out human connection, even though it is on such a low level, and I don’t want to fuel their fire.
Here are my top 3 tips for surviving and thriving within our powerful and tremendous community:
1. Know your outcome. When we post a blog or any post on any form of social media, we are after a particular result. It may be advocacy/spreading awareness. It may be sharing a victory or a loss with our community. No matter what the desired outcome is, knowing what we are after before actively putting it out in the DOC can really shape the way the words and information come out of our heads.
2. Shake it off. Yes, just like Taylor Swift so wisely says LOL. If someone says something to us that is rude, hurtful, or any kind of personal attack on us or someone we love, shake it off. That person is in pain and wants desperately for you to be in pain along with them. Don’t give them the satisfaction. Don’t live on that level with them. Hit delete on the comment or post. Ban them from the page. There doesn’t need to be one ounce of interaction. Put on your favorite song and blast it. Move on with your mission, which I truly believe for most of us in the DOC is loving and supporting our brothers and sisters living with diabetes and those who love us, each in our own individual awesome way.
3. Be true to yourself, and expect that occasionally you will experience a negative reaction…we simply can’t please everyone and that is OK. When we know what makes us happy and take action towards that passion daily (especially in the DOC where I feel that we all aim to serve others and help make our lives more enjoyable by interacting with others who “get it”) it becomes harder and harder for outside influences to have any major effect on our mindsets. I have to give credit where credit is due and thank my mom Gayle for equipping me with the ability to adopt this attitude.
There comes a point in our mental evolution when we are truly at peace and in touch with ourselves, and nothing anyone says or does bothers us and no negativity can touch us. OK maybe it’s never quite that perfect, but we can always strive to get closer and closer to that as our reality.