I’ve been struggling with patience. And not only recently. My lack of patience has been an issue for me for a long time. Something happened many years ago—I attempted to take my life. That was a difficult time in my life, but I’ve come out of that place with a clearer direction of who I want to be and where I want to go.
There was a time in my life where I wanted to try everything. I wanted to be a stand-up comedian, I wanted to act in plays, I wanted to be a well-known writer. I had dreams of saving up money to travel the world for a year. I thought about learning to climb mountains. Yet I’ve come to realize that unfortunately, we don’t have enough time in our lives to do all that we desire.
So we have to focus. And for my part I’ve chosen to focus on mental health. Sharing my experiences with loneliness and mental health issues enables me to do public speaking (which I enjoy) as well as travel.
I’ve always been a person who lacks patience, though. I want things to be over with so I can get to the good stuff: the trips I’ve planned, the holidays I enjoy, the visits from friends. I want work to be over so I can go to the gym, and then I want the gym to be over so I can go home and take a shower. Then I want the night to be over so I can sleep and the work week to be over because on the weekends I get to work on what I really desire: my writing and speaking.
In doing so I often miss the simple pleasures of life: the warmth of the sun, the fine writing of a good sentence in a book, the soft fur of my cat.
My lack of patience also causes me to not appreciate my successes. I look past when I do things I enjoy such as speak with audiences or share a story that gets a good laugh. I acknowledge it, but never seem to fully appreciate it.
I want to go to the next thing and complete my next goal.
I find that my lack of patience can raise my irritability. It leads me to become grumpy when things don’t go the right way. I can also get depressed and desperate. When a success seems as though it’s a year or two away and will need a great deal of work I can despair. I worry that my depression and anxiety will overwhelm me before then.
So what can I do in these situations?
1. Take some time to slow down and appreciate the little things. I’ve found meditation helps me relax and learn to focus on what is bothering me. I can appreciate my breath. I may not always be able to stop at any time during the day and enjoy my experience at that moment, but I’m at least trying and that’s worth something.
2. Recognize during those times of anxiety and impatience that “This too shall pass.” I will get to my goal at some point, as I have so many times before. And when that happens…
3. Enjoy and celebrate those successes. Go out to dinner with friends, make myself a cake, tell my friends and family. We all deserve love and respect no matter what goes on. There’s nothing wrong with loving ourselves. We can show the same appreciation for a job well done as we would for a friend who accomplishes something great.
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This blog is an exploration of the subjects of belonging and loneliness. I also look at mental health issues. I seek to provide content to my readers that is informative and helpful. If you don't want to miss anything, sign up for my email list.