I've expressed my fondness and support for the Diabetes Online Community many times. This community is, to be all cliche-heavy, an inspirational and life-changing community full of amazing people.
But every once in a while, it serves us all well to step back and realize: Not everyone needs this DOC. They simply don't need or want what it offers, whether it be the personal connections or networking or world-changing advocacy. Those fellow Persons with Diabetes who do fine managing without the camaraderie displayed in the DOC.
And that's cool. Nothing wrong with that. Some say they don't have the same struggles that many of us do, or that they don't need to tell others about their lives with diabetes. They deal with the daily D-Life situations on their own terms, on their own, in their own way. Without having to discuss it or educate or advocate to others.
I used to be that way. For most of my life, actually. I didn't know I really needed the support until I found it, and now it's difficult to imagine life without these individuals who make up this amazing community. We share honestly and do what we can for ourselves and anyone else who might be reading. There's a personally fulfilling sense of importance that I see in that.
While it's important for us within this community to recognize the DOC isn't for everyone, I think it's also important for those non-DOC folk to recognize the significance these friendships and story-telling experiences have on us. One way isn't better - they're just different and we're all doing what we think is best for us.
No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes and can learn from others. I learn a lot from my friends, find little tips and tidbits that end up benefiting my life. But just the same, many things don't work for me and I have no interest in adopting as my own. It goes to the phrase, Your Diabetes May Vary. It's important to recognize and respect that mantra.
Belittling someone's views doesn't help anyone, and it certainly doesn't help make your point seem valid. It just clutters the community discussion with negativity. If someone doesn't support your views and ideas, that doesn't mean he or she is wrong. There's no need to belittle each other, to bring personal attacks into a discussion simply because we have an issue with another person's perspective. That's just not what this is all about.
Sadly, the lines can become very blurred when it comes to personal blogs. These are places that allow us to say what we feel, where we basically don't have to censor ourselves and can "say it like it is" without holding back... Honest and open communication that takes on a life of its own.
The power we have is being open, welcoming, and embracing of all views whether we agree or not. There's always the potential to criticize and be negative, voicing our opinions behind a computer screen. But hopefully we can rise above that, and respect the idea of a community whether we're a part of one or not.
After all, we all live on this same hunk of rock in the middle of space and breath the same air.