Thursday, September 20, 2012

Patience is a Virtue...

A virtue that I don't usually have. If you know me at all, you've probably noticed the way I dive into everything head first, hoping to make an immediate change or see progress right away. I'll admit, I'm an instant gratification type of a person. I'm a mover and a shaker and I don't like when things don't go as planned. While partly I think this is "just me", I also feel that rapid cycling cyclothymia doesn't help my cause. I'm used to things switching rather quickly and drastically for me. So waiting around isn't my forte.

I am, though, finally realizing the value of patience. It's a slow realization... very slow. What I have discovered is that an increase in patience seems to correlate very nicely to a decrease in stress and anxiety. I'm less worried about "why isn't this happening? why are things taking so long to progress". It also helps me to see the value in the fact that even when things don't go according to plan, they usually turn out ok. Maybe not immediately, but in the long run. I'm sure there are exceptions for this, but many times I've found that I was waiting for one result, and another one snuck up on me from behind, and actually ended up turning into a better situation than I'd originally hoped for.

If you're not naturally a patient person, attaining even a little bit of it is a struggle. Meditation has helped me. The goal of a meditation session, for me, is purely just being still and letting your mind go (to simplify it). You basically have to be patient - even if just for 10 minutes. Setting multiple goals within a process has also helped for me. Instead of going all in and waiting on one ultimate result, I focus on much smaller steps at short intervals - sometimes even daily, depending on the goal. For example, I've made it a goal to do one thing every day that makes me nervous/anxious/fearful. These can be the silliest things - i.e. taking public transportation which makes me squeamish, or introducing myself to a new member of my coworking community that I don't know. It allows me to see progress every day towards the long range goal of overcoming the fears that hold me back.

So start with the little things, the seemingly insignificant things on which you can practice your patience - the worst that happens is that you're not as patient as you'd like to be. If I don't go out of my way to introduce myself to a new coworker, nothing specifically negative will happen. If I do, I'm one small step closer to my goal, and I don't have to wait - an impatient person's dream come true. 

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