Patience (noun): The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. See also self-restraint, perseverance, and persistence.
I’m not a patient person. In fact, if I think about my life, it’s all just been a series of me failing at exercising patience. When I was younger, I took gymnastics, tennis, and piano. My parents spent a ridiculous amount of money to help me pursue these extracurricular activities, but I just didn’t have the “sticktoitiveness,” as my mom calls it. I also spent eighth-grade through, well, now struggling with my weight. From Weight Watchers to veganism to hiring a personal trainer (or two), I’ve tried diet after diet to permanently shed the weight, but failed for a number of reasons: I’m lazy and food is awesome are two obvious excuses; however, when I really look deeper, when I sit down and truly consider what my weight loss and extracurricular failures have in common it’s patience, or the lack thereof.
Whether I was on the tennis court or standing on a scale, I didn’t want to work hard. I didn’t want to follow through. I didn’t want to take my time. I wanted what I wanted, and I didn’t want to have to wait for it. Feel free to blame this on the “microwave generation” I’m a part of, but I’m going to take full responsibility for my actions or inaction. There’s no one to blame but myself. I didn’t grow up to be the next Dominique Dawes because I didn’t want to practice. I didn’t grow up to become the next Serena Williams because I literally and figuratively didn’t follow through. While I have lost a considerable amount of LBs since 2011, my weight continues to be a struggle because I’d rather google “how to lose 10 pounds in one month” and try the next fad diet than take my time, exercise, and eat right.
Far too often we want things so badly and quickly, but we’re not willing to wait and work for it. We want to snap our fingers and, poof, have our wants and wishes come true. We’re impatient with the process and, most of all, we’re impatient with ourselves. If we don’t see an immediate result to all of the time, energy, and effort we expend, we give up. If we don’t see the fruits of our labor when we deem appropriate, we criticize ourselves and think we’re incompetent. The thing is, however, change and growth aren’t immediate or sudden, they’re gradual. And patience, my friends, is essential to see the lasting change and growth you’ve been hoping and wishing would occur. How do you practice patience?
Identify your goal and your intentions. Determine how much time you can and should realistically devote to achieve said goal. This is a challenge you’ve set for yourself, so when you’re feeling anxious and impatient (which you will), return to your intentions and recall why you’re working to accomplish your dream. Also, remind yourself that Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day, and she’s pretty fabulous. Don’t you want to be as fabulous as Beyoncé? If so, give yourself the time and space to do just that! None of this is easy. In fact just being patient is a time-consuming, effort-filled practice on its own. We learn so much about ourselves during moments of difficulty and adversity, and if we can learn to be patient with ourselves, trust the process, and have faith, then we can appreciate the journey and reap the rewards. More importantly, we can even learn how to exercise patience with others.
So, how will you practice patience? Comment below!