Your most important relationships. What happens to them when your health is going downhill, week by week?

Spare a thought for the person with a chronic disease like type 2 diabetes. Or even someone who is a pre-diabetic. It’s a slippery slope that can easily get out of control.

What happens to such a person besides their health complications?

Some feel like they’re failing their loved ones. They have low or no energy to do the things they enjoy with the people who matter most to them. Social gatherings are out of the question. When they do partake in after-work drinks or meal, it costs them far more than most people realise.

Type 2 diabetes often breaks up their nightly sleep and destroys libido or cause erectile dysfunction (in men). Thus, the much needed intimacy is hit hard and certainly places unnecessary strains on personal relationships.

Others feel like they’re a burden on the lives of their loved ones. Guilt, shame and self-loathing follows. So anger and resentment build up and many diabetics are great at masking their pent-up emotions. These are the ingredients of the perfect storm for future health complications such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Yet, others feel like an abject failure. Will they “be there” to see their kids and grandchildren grow up to lead happy, healthy lives? What legacy will the next generation be left with from such a “broken” person?

I was lucky. For the longest time, I had all the signs and symptoms of pre-diabetes. Not only was my sleep broken every night, I was left shattered throughout the day with a craving for afternoon naps.

Yesterday, I was tested to the limits with some drama relating to one of my sons. He found himself in a deep mess not of his creation. Early morning, his mother called to tell me about the mess.

So what would you do?

Do you drop all your work without notice, drive for a couple of hours to rescue your son even though he’s a fully grown adult? Then, drive another couple of hours back? Or do you let him figure life out for himself?

Some very well meaning people would say do the latter. A young man has the perfect opportunity learn and grow from such a life challenge.

It was a no-brainer for me.

As soon as I had confirmation about his whereabouts, I jumped into the car, picked him up from one town, dropped him off at his home town and then drove back home. An entire day was lost. BUT I reinforced an already strong relationship with my son.

What my sons and I have is something very, very important to us all. We have deep, meaningful relationships. This means there is nothing that will stop us from being there at a time of crises.

If you have even one meaningful relationship with an individual, then count yourself as lucky. Millions of people in developed countries don’t even have that. Is it a surprise that loneliness is one of the most prevalent diseases in the UK, Europe and North America?

Meaningful relationships are far more important than you can imagine. The more such relationships you have, the better your chances of being healthy and happy. Being there for others AND allowing others to be there for you.

One of the top books every serious business owner and leader may wish to read is “Connected: The Surprising Power Of Our Social Networks And How They Shape Our Lives“. They authors offer compelling scientific evidence of the impact the intricacies of our real life social networks influence in numerous aspects of our health, happiness and fulfilment.

There is a caveat about social networks. The depth of connection you have with others can only go as deep as the meaningful relationship you have with yourself. When working with clients with type 2 diabetes, we explore how deep their relationship is with themselves.

A fundamental part of building true meaning into the most important relationship is dismantling the hurt, pain and trauma that is driving your habits and lifestyle choices that have led to your type 2 diabetes in the first place.

Everything has meaning. Above all, the relationship you have with yourself.

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