The goal is the reward, but the work within the process is the accomplishment. As human beings, goal oriented in nature, yearnings taught and nurtured fuel our efforts. Feed our need for absolute control. Whether the goal is physical, nonphysical, personally held, or publicly displayed in this time of projected immediacy all around us (gestures to the 21st century), we aren’t anxious for the effort, we’re anxious for the process. It’s the waiting that stings us. It’s the many steps, the process, the journeying. The poet in me says, “Day turning into night winds itself upon our progress but we just want what’s done. We miss the risings of the Sun’s sets and the wanings of the Moon’s blooms- the beauty of process.”
Any worthwhile achievement, like the growth it takes to get there, will not be rushed because you are reluctant in acknowledging that you aren’t always in control and averse to being patient with the process and with yourself. Notice I didn’t say easy—most things are never easy—I said worthwhile. Waiting, at the very least, can be inconvenient, but your intentions and goals are worth the patient effort it takes present you to build them for a wiser future you.
My relationship with waiting was a tumultuous and resentful one. Stained by a period where the child I was felt powerless in the hands of adults who attempted to delay my dreams, waiting seemed to me a curse and patience a punishment enforced by a power outside myself. I reasoned, “If I wanted something or put in fervent effort for a goal, why can’t I have it immediately? What else should I be doing? Because it can’t be that I’ve done enough.” Being frustrated about your efforts or progress will not shorten the process. It’s a natural part of it to some degree, but prolonged rumination on this part may serve as self injury. In the spirit of being patient with yourself, creating a space for your inevitable and natural languishing is a part of the process. You should feel free to experience uncomfortable states as you make any lasting change or achieve any worthwhile goal. Discomfort can be information about how to move forward, reevaluating your path, or simply a call for rest. It is only with patience, intentionally engaging your capacity to create a space of awareness for all that you are experiencing, that you can decipher what your discomfort might mean to you. Being patient with yourself fosters your personal growth.
I certainly wasn’t patient with myself. Heck, I’m still struggling with that, but it occurred to me one night while I was getting ready for bed, caring for my body and mind, engaging in intentional and patient self-care while uttering incantations to myself of my worthiness, that most of all I am worthy of being patient with myself. I’m worth the effort I put into growing and healing and changing, and most worthy of witnessing the unfolding process it takes to embody this living. Control is fleeting and I don’t know everything. I can’t know everything. I can’t understand everything and I’m not supposed to, but one thing is certain: I can grant myself my patience as I figure out what I can, what I ought to, and what I need to to create a life more abundant. You can too. Patience is a freedom I can give myself, and in my ease of patience with myself am patient with others, I must be. We are all figuring it out. Waiting and trusting that as long as we balance gratitude in the present with hope and active faith towards things to come, our witnessing and participation in the process will foster growth that a future, goal in hand, can graciously use to continue to live a life deeply appreciated.
Here’s the definition of patience as understood by me:
pa·tience: /ˈpāSHəns/ The capacity to be intentional, gentle with, and aware of yourself in the process of being as you grow; As life unfolds.
I am worthy of being patient with myself.
I am worthy of my patience.