What is it with numbers? Why do I feel so bad about certain numbers and good about others? Why do I compare mine to other peoples? And why do people feel so compelled to share theirs, unsolicited but worked into the conversation nonetheless? Why do we care about numbers so much? I know we're trained to notice numbers, and to track them, and to understand their meaning. I've been trained to use numbers as guides and tools in my health care. I've been trained to shoot for certain numbers and to react to certain numbers and to notice the patterns of the numbers, to change my behavior, my choices, my life in relation to numbers. But no one has ever come out and said I should feel anything beyond the information they provide. Even so, I realized recently how much more meaning I attach to my numbers beyond the information they are designed to provide. I realize that I attach a judgement of my character to my blood sugar and A1C numbers, like some kind of cosmic grade about whether I am a good person or not.
Where is that coming from? Certainly not from my doctor or my husband or my friends or the OC. So if not from them, then from where? And more importantly, why? No one says I should feel the way I sometimes feel about numbers. In fact, they often say I shouldn't. There is no good reason to attach this extra meaning to a 6 or a 7 or a 5 but even so, I do it anyway sometimes.
Wow. Now that's really good information. To actually see that I'm doing that. To see it clearly. Because now that I see it, I can work on it. I can work on noticing and using the numbers as information and guides. And that's all. I can notice when 1) I see a number, and then 2) I feel like a failure or a bad person. I can work at stopping at 1) and not going to 2). Because the fact is that 2) is not true and to feel so, even unconsciously, doesn't help in any way (and in fact, makes it worse than it needs to be). So here's to a new equation. One where numbers are just numbers. Neutral, a source of information and positive motivation and inspiration, a guidepost and just a moment in time, and that's all. And that's all. Ah, now that's a noble goal!