Patience is more than a virtue

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I feel like calling patience a "virtue" makes it sound like it's an easy thing to do; an easy choice to make. It also makes it sound like it's a luxury, when actually it's a necessity for healthy living. But patience is hard; really fucking hard. It takes constant work and practice, and even when you're focused on it, it's still a struggle.

"Patience can’t be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it.”
Eknath Easwaran

Patience is about being really self aware and possessing next level strength and maturity to commit to the slower path. It means to allow space in life; space to breathe; space to pause; space to think; space to enjoy; space to let go of expectations and to simply be.

Patience is also about having trust in the process; trust that things will work out in time. It's about being able to wait for long term or delayed gratification, rather than settle for short term or instant gratification. Which is no easy task.

“Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.”
Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton


Going slow does not equal lazy

Once upon a time I did everything so quickly, with such eagernerss and such lack of awareness that now I look back and I often ask myself "Did that really happen? Was I really there?" It's all a blur; I can't rememeber a lot. I didn't pay attention to much, I just needed to always be doing something and things needed to happen fast!

My mind has been set on instant gratification for most of my life and as life moves faster and faster, it becomes even more difficult to be patient; we can download, order, have so much so quickly now. I can purchase something on Amazon today for it to be here tomorrow, and even then it feels like a long time! Also, need information? That's okay, just put some words in a search box and you're inundated with anwers. Speed seems to be our goal nowadays.

I grew up thinking that if you want to be efficient, reliable and successful then you need to get things done fast; immediately! I believed that going slow meant laziness, and that busyness meant productivity. But now I know better and I've learned that living fast is actually harmful, and it does not equal productivity. It can lead to poor decision making, it can lead to stress and can negatively affect your health, it can get in the way of your relationships as you won't be patient with yourself or others, it can fill you with self-doubt, it can put your life in danger.

Impatience can actually cause a lot of distress. And it won't change a thing; time will go by the same way. Impatience results to poor decision making ~ you don't give yourself space and time to process and to think before acting, which can result in a rash decision and unwanted results. If you rush a thing you're more likely to cut corners and fuck it up and have to start all over again: Great things take time.

"Being patient doesn’t mean sitting around twiddling your thumbs. It takes strength and character. While you wait, you can be writing more, reading more, practicing, failing, dusting yourself off, and trying again."
Suzannah Windsor Freeman

Combine inpatience with impulsivity and you have a recipe for disaster; being impatient has got me in a lot of trouble before, and I've noticed that any joy you get from instant gratification is shortly lived and not worth the frustration and anxiety that comes with trying to achieve or do things so quickly.


Let yourself be and slow down 

My experience of struggling with ill health is teaching me to slow down and to listen to my mind, body and soul; I've been forced to pause and to be patient. It wasn't until I let myself be sick and stopped fighting my illness that I began to heal.

"My brain and body worked independently. For the first time I came face to face with the realization that I don’t have full control over my body, and that it will only move at the pace it needs to go at."
Joanna Warwick

As I enter a new phase of my healing journey, I am finding myself reverting to some old habits; that past me has been shouting at me: "Okay, we're not in crisis anymore so now we must do all the things!" At first I started feeling irritable and distressed, and slowly I realised that it was because I'm being impatient with myself, and all the things I want to make happen are things that need time; a lot of time. I felt frustrated because I couldn't have all my blog post ideas written at once, because I couldn't write my whole damn book in a few days, because I couldn't train and become a support worker and start a charity and get another degree all at once! Ahhhh yes, I was actually feeling iritable and distressed because those things won't happen overnight. 

"Allow yourself to be still, and remember that if you’re aligned with who you really are, all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place at the right time."
Cloris Kylie Stock

I joked with my mum the other day about just quitting the slow work I'm doing, I said: "Oh it is so hard; it's a full time job! Give me instant gratification! Fuck the slow work!" and she brutally honestly, yet necessarily, reminded me that if I go back to my old ways I will be running towards an early grave. OUCH! But she is 100% right, and I needed that reality check.

Living fast really did almost kill me young, a few times now! And if I hadn't changed to a slower pace of life, I'd probably be dead by now. I am not exagerating. This really is my truth, and I know I'm not alone with this experience.

If I let that cruel voice take over and allow it to take me off my safe self-care path, I wouldn't sleep or go out or do much else than write and apply for jobs I'm not ready for; I would've signed up to a two year, full-time work and full-time study programme, and I would've done and said a lot of shit that doesn't align with my values!


However, if I stick with working on my self-development and self-discovery, slowly and with patience, there are such wonderful things that I could achieve, slowly but surely. I can write my memoir and maybe even another book; I can keep posting content I believe in on my social media channels and on my blog; I can slowly volunteer my way through support worker role or to starting my own charity, and I can do it all without a breakdown. And I'll learn a hell of a lot more by choosing the slow path.

Impatience means I'll most likely breakdown again, and it'll hapen fast, and I may not survive another breakdown. Patience means I take care of myself and slowly build up my resilience, my awareness and my wise mind.

Going slower doesn't mean that I'm lazy or giving up, or that I'm not working hard enough. It means I am acting from a place of self-care and self-love, and it minimises the likelihood of me acting on impulse. Instead, I can go slower, give myself time to think and process, and to make informed and thought out decisions that moves towards my growth. By slowing down and evaluating what's at hand, I can put my energy into tasks that help me grow rather than just mindlessly doing things.

"If you plant a tree today, it won't produce fruits on the same day; or even in the same year! You plant it now and take care of it, and remain patient and in time that tree will grow slowly and reward you with produce"
Solimar Williams, AKA My mothership

That is how it goes; we are only rewarded when we're patient. Trying to force the plant to give me fruits on the same day would likely just destroy the plant, and in no way in hell would it give me any fruits! Thus is life.

“Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.”
Soren Kierkegaard

My mum recently told me she's noticed I get impatient and irritable at times as I focus on checking things off my list as if I'm running out of time. I didn't notice these things before, and I'm grateful that she pointed it out, because now I'm aware and I can work on it.

"When you are impatient, you are often demanding that other people run on your schedule. This is a very selfish way of viewing and interacting with other people, and it shows just how self-absorbed you can be. Patience with other people, and their schedules in life, is important to your relationships with them. When you exhibit patience, you show other people that you value their time and their schedule in life, and that helps you earn other people’s respect."
(www.ilanelanzen.com/)

The same way people don't run on our schedule, neither do things; sometimes things break down or go wrong, and we need patience to accept that truth and find a solution.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.“

Albert Einstein



Find comfort in discomfort 

I think my impatience stems a lot from wanting to be "perfect". But really, perfection is an impossible goal and we must learn to accept our imperfections. Which can be uncomfortable, so I guess a lot of patience is about finding comfort in discomfort. Usually emotions that makes us uncomfortable such as sadness, anger, and frustration come up when we can't control something, it's important to sit with and take our time to process those emotions, it's a good way to practice patience.

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”
William S. Burroughs

Life is not a destination, it's a journey and if we rush we don't enjoy the journey; actually we don't even register the journey! We end up being here physically but not mentally and emotionally; we end up just existing but not really living.

It is so important to spend some time in silence, and listen to the voice of our intuition, which is the voice of our true self. To hear that voice, we must be patient and trust that answers will come in time. It is also important to celebrate small victories, for example, in the past, any time I moved forward or achieved something, I would then instantly move on to the next thing; I was impatient and never took time to enjoy my victories, I would instantly go into: "Okay, what's next?" mode. During my worst depression days I started to celebrate things like getting out of bed or having a shower or brushing my teeth. It was tough, but that pain taught me the importance of patience and to celebrate all my victories.

“If I have made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.”
Sir Isaac Newton

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