Being patient with the process(DW #812)

Once we shine the light of awareness on ourselves and confront what needs work, it is so tempting to want to fix things overnight. We may think, ok I got it. I need to work on my anger, my reactivity, my consistency, my emotional regulation, my tendency towards distraction  . . . .etc. etc. etc. Now that I have recognized it and made an intention, it should be fixed right?
Nope. Sorry to tell you that it does not work that way.
Given that we have lived many years (or decades) with this kind of thinking or behaviour, it is unreasonable to expect that it will be easy to change. (Sometimes it is, but that is generally the exception and not the rule).
We need to remind ourselves that we need to go slow, progress step by step and above all, be patient with ourselves.

Why, you ask? What does patience have to do with this? Should I not be motivating myself with being strict with myself?
Here’s the thing: if you get lost in self-criticism and blame, it will rob you of the focus and energy that you need in order to do the work.

Being impatient and hard on yourself feels like you are doing something but it is not something that will actually change things. (At least in the long run).


Research has shown again and again that it is self-compassion rather than self-blame or criticism that leads to lasting and wholesome change.


So patience, as you may have heard, is a virtue :)


So when I want things to change quickly, I remind myself that all worthwhile things take time.


Epictetus the slave turned Stoic philosopher reminds us in The Enchiridion): "No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen."


So when we are feeling a little (or a lot) of impatience regarding our growth, it may be wise to remind ourselves to be patient with ourselves and focus on the process rather than the destination.

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