Relationships and understanding require effort on both sides of the equation and this is something that many often don’t understand. As an example, I have a friend who seems to think he’s the absolute authority within his home and that his spouse should just go along and amend her lifestyle and choices to suit his. The problem with this is that relationships require compromise and while one could argue that the person who may not be keeping up with the other is the one who needs to compromise, that flow has to go both ways in order for a relationship to work. And to be clear, this applies to ANY relationship, not just romantic ones.
Throughout the course of my life, I’be been in many friendships, relationships and associations with people and it continues to amaze me how those relationships have often ended up one-sided. And I don’t mean that it was all them; some of it was absolutely me. I do have SOME ability to blame Diabetes in this mix, since my condition was very poorly treated during my teens when friendships were developed that should have blossomed into adulthood. But otherwise, selfishness and poor choices have led to the loss of some of the best friendships and relationships I’ve ever had.
That being said and before I fall too far down the rabbit hole, it’s important to remember that compromise can only get you so far. At the end of the day, one must recognize that there are aspects of your life that you should never compromise or abandon, simply because someone else is asking you to. Some of the relationships I’ve been in have been abusive and to the point where I damaged my health and happiness in order to prevent causing waves. But of there are people in your life who are forcing you to do this, you’re likely better off without them.
I’ve written about this before but I recently read one of those online “AITA” posts about someone with an eating disorder and how their chosen partner just wouldn’t understand when their need to eat kicked in. This reminded me of these aspects and I decided to list them out, once again. Here we go:
- Your Sleep
Sleep is a necessary requirement of life. A person can’t go without sleep and if one were to try, they would quite literally die. I could go into all the little details about what tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion can cause but that’s not what this post is about. The bottom line is that although we all love the concept of getting 8 hours of sleep in a night, there are a lot of reasons why someone may be unable to do so and may require rest outside of that. As a Type-1 Diabetic, my system usually responds to fluctuating blood sugars by having me get tired. This tiredness is generally eased by grabbing a quick nap; something that can be difficult if there are household responsibilities that are timely or there are children to help care for. But it should never be ignore simply because someone else dislikes it.
When I lived back home, I used to do some pretty erratic shift work that saw me exhausted and sleeping at strange hours, including at around 6 pm after I’d had some dinner. I’d always have this one wretched friend who’d come knock at my window (I was still living with my parents) until he’d wake me up. When I’d ask him what he wanted, he’d essentially peer-pressure me into leaving the house to go hang out, despite my explaining that I had worked and was tired. His reasoning was that I could always sleep later, since it was early in the evening. No, no I can’t asshole! Shift work doesn’t allow it.
My ex-wife used to be this way, as well. Any time I’d get home from working an overnight, she’d have just woken up and wold be raring to go for the day where all I’d want to do is crawl into my bed. She’d get angry with me for not staying up, despite logically knowing that I had been up throughout the entire night. Toxic. The bottom line and the takeaway here is that you should never sacrifice your need for rest, regardless of the time or what other people may say about it. Especially as a Type-1 Diabetic and knowing that all things affect my blood sugars, I shudder to think of all the damage I caused my self during the times I put off my own exhaustion in favour of others. OR how dangerous it might have been during times I drove or did activities I likely should have, during this fatigue. No more…
2. Your Hunger
If I have to explain why this one is important, y’all really haven’t been reading my stuff! Even if I wasn’t Type-1 Diabetic, it stands to reason that eating is an integral part of staying alive. Much like sleep, you can TRY to go without it but you’ll ultimately lose that battle right around the time you lose your life. In fact, if you try to stop eating, this constitutes an eating disorder, which is what prompted the writing of this post. The “AITA” article I read was about a person who had suffered an eating disorder and was in recovery. As part of their recovery, they had a requirement to eat immediately when they felt hungry, otherwise they could potentially relapse and go days without food.
This person was at a family dinner with their partner and at about 5:30 pm they started to feel hungry, so in keeping with their recovery, they ate a granola bar. Dinner was at 6:30 and they still ate normally and all was well until the couple left and the partner got angry because they considered it a disrespect to have eaten a snack in front of the family an hour before dinner. The couple broke up after the partner refused to acknowledge the person’ eating disorder and recovery and tried to claim that relationships are about compromise. The issue at hand here, is that one should never compromise on their need for food.
I totally understand that under very normal circumstances, waiting an added hour for dinner isn’t the end of the world and that growling stomach might even make for some interesting conversation and a few laughs. But in my world, even at a formal dinner, if I feel that my blood sugars are starting to drop, something is getting shovelled dow my gullet whether the hosts like it or not! Proper food and nutrition is also an integral part of your health and your health should also never be compromised, which brings me to m y third point…
3. Your Health
I have so much to say on this aspect that I would almost need a separate post JUST to explain… Your health actually contains and encompasses the other two points, which is why I saved it for last. For someone with Type-1 Diabetes, taking proper care of your health and managing your overall condition is really the only way to survive until you reach your golden years. But not everyone is always on board with this. Letting someone know that you have dietary restrictions, food requirements or any other conditions that require one to take certain steps will often fall on deaf ears. It’s a delicate balance of trying to make others understand, mixed with the fact that you don’t owe anyone an explanation as it relates to your health.
A good example I have is a kids’ birthday party I brought my oldest to, last year. The party was slated to start at about 4:30 and although I assumed there would be snacks and cake for the kids (it WAS a birthday party, after all) I didn’t want to assume that any adults would be fed, as well. So, I had some dinner before heading over. Setting aside for the moment that I appeared to be one of the only adults who stayed with their kids, the family was all smiles and friendly demeanour. That is, until the food came out. They had ordered pizza for EVERYONE, adults included. While this is an extremely nice gesture, I had already eaten and pizza is one of those really difficult foods to bolus for, especially after I had already eaten.
I made a point of explaining that I was grateful for the offer but couldn’t partake. I even included the fact I had Diabetes. Although they “kind of” said they understood, I could see that they really didn’t. It got worse when the cake came out and everyone was having a piece and I declined on the basis that since I wasn’t home, I didn’t want to upset my blood sugars. It was at that point that I could tell the hosts were experiencing what I can only assume was offence. I get it, I mean it is a birthday party and one of the people there is refusing all food and cake. But sometimes people need to understand that it isn’t about politeness and there may be an actual health component to it.
The bottom line, and I should get to it before I stretch this post another several pages, is that compromise is all well and good, but not at the cost of your health and well-being. You should never compromise your health or need to explain when you’re tired or hungry. One’s well-being is difficult enough to manage without having to justify or explain at ever step. Taking care of yourself is the first priority. And as I often say, even if you’re one of those folks who are always trying to help others, it’s very difficult to help others if you haven’t helped yourself, first. Food for thought…☯️