In a world where everyone wants immediate responses, results and rewards, it becomes necessary to familiarize ourselves once again with the importance of patience. We navigate our day-to-day lives using tools that provide us instant answers through Google, constant communication through text or e-mail and purchases that show up on our doorstep overnight. And because of images and ads we see that make claims for miracle weight loss supplements or programs that ensure they can turn you into an instant millionaire, we have become desensitized to the idea that certain things take time and they are worth waiting and/or working for.
Let’s apply the idea of patience to ourselves. Answer the following question honestly: Do you practice patience with yourself?
You may be quick to say “yes,” or brush off the question and automatically think, “of course I do,” but is that the truth? Are you patient when it takes time and dedication at the gym to sculpt and strengthen your ideal body? Are you patient when you make a mistake at work? What about when you’re feeling overwhelmed about your responsibilities and are falling behind on your “To Do” list?
If we are not patient with ourselves, we lose the opportunity to heal, grow and continue taking steps towards success. We also end up setting expectations that are too high and become a slave to trying to fulfill them. The biggest loss we encounter from dismissing the practice of patience is not appreciating or enjoying the small successes that we achieve along our journey towards our big goals.
Like any skill, patience takes practice. Think about a sport or talent that you have. Whether you’re a baseball player, a writer or a pianist, you were not good to begin with. You had to improve your skill one day at a time, with much focus and dedication. This same process applies to any other achievement that you set your sights on; and that includes becoming a patient person.
When your focus is on losing weight and feeling comfortable in your own skin, look in the mirror each day and instead of zeroing in on your faults, love the person that you see. Celebrate with a solo dance party in your living room when your clothes start to fit better instead of when the numbers start dropping on the scale. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you make a healthy food substitution or decline that tempting slice of cheesecake on the dessert menu. And don’t beat yourself up in those moments that temptation wins out–because those moments will certainly happen. What matters most is that you remain patient with yourself and never give up.
“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.” -Saadi